Kerry: 'Nearly Every Country on Earth Could...Join in This Effort'

Susan Jones | September 10, 2014 | 10:53am EDT
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

( - The effort to defeat the Islamic State taking hold in Syria and Iraq could involve "nearly every country on earth," Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Wednesday. He was speaking in Iraq, one of the stops on his coalition-building trip:

"Nearly every country on earth could have an ability and an interest to join in this effort, whether by providing military assistance, by helping to track and stop the flow of foreign fighters, helping to track and stop the flow of money -- all of these are things that sustain ISIL's terrorism and all of them are things that are subject to impact by other countries in the world," Kerry told a news conference after meeting with the new Iraqi leaders.

Kerry hailed the 40-nation coalition that already is contributing military, humanitarian and other assistance to aid the campaign against ISIL. "I assure you," that coalition "will continue to grow and deepen in the days ahead," he promised.

And after it "ultimately" succeeds in eliminating the threat posed by ISIL, the global coalition can "focus on lots of other challenges," proving the "ability of nations to come together for common cause."

"So this is a moment for international cooperation to prove its value. This is a moment for multilateralism to prove its value and have its effect. This is a moment for all decent countries to come together and stand up and say to the world, we've had enough of these individual groups with their violent brand of distortion who seek to dominate people and coerce them -- at risk of losing their life or limb -- to their way of thinking."

Kerry said President Obama on Wednesday night will "lay out with great specificity each component of a broad strategy" to deal with ISIL. "It's full steam ahead," Kerry promised.

And whatever Obama's strategy turns out to be, Kerry said it must be applied with "intensity."

He noted that the U.S. already  has launched more than 150 air strikes to weaken ISIL and protect innocent people. And he announced that the U.S. will provide another $48 million to United Nations agencies and other groups that are working to save lives and alleviate suffering.

Kerry also urged Muslim nations to "join together in defining the real Islam and making it clear that there is no legitimacy whatsoever within ISIL for any of the claims that they make with respect to a religious foundation for their caliphate, their state, or for their actions.

"It is necessary for moderate, reasonable people around the world to repudiate the distortion of Islam that ISIL seeks to spread and to contribute as they do to the urgent humanitarian relief effort that is required because of their barbarity," he said.

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