Obama to host UN summit on foreign fighters threat
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama will host a summit meeting of the U.N. Security Council next month to focus on the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters like the ones now taking part in combat in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. administration announced Monday.
The United States holds the Security Council presidency in September and the Obama administration said the president is inviting leaders of the 14 other council nations to attend the summit during the week of Sept. 22 when they gather for the annual ministerial meeting of the General Assembly.
The U.S. said it hopes the council will adopt a resolution addressing the phenomenon of foreigners recruited abroad and sent to fight for terrorist groups, and emphasizing the need for all countries to mobilize the tools and resources to prevent it.
The threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters has become even more acute, an official from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
"The conflicts in Syria and Iraq have highlighted this threat, with an estimated 12,000 foreign terrorist fighters joining that conflict," the U.S. official said.
The Security Council on Friday responded to the growing terrorist threat in the two countries by imposing sanctions on six men for recruiting or financing foreign fighters, and threatening additional sanctions against those supporting terrorist groups.
It also demanded that the Islamic State extremist group and all al-Qaida-linked groups end violence and disarm and disband immediately — and reiterated an earlier demand that all foreign fighters withdraw immediately.
The resolution follows the recent offensive by the Islamic State group, which has taken control of a large swath of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, brutalizing civilians and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee, as well as increasing terrorist activity by other al-Qaida-linked groups including Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.
The Obama administration wants the resolution that the U.S. is drafting and will be discussing with council members before next month's high-level council meeting to focus on the broader issue of foreigners recruited to fight for terrorist groups anywhere in the world, the U.S. official said.
The meeting of leaders of the 15 council nations will be the first since Obama hosted a council summit on nonproliferation in September 2009.