Netherlands to co-chair anti-ISIL coalition conference in Washington, DC

Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders will participate in a conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday 20 July on stabilising the security situation in Iraq, which has been seriously disrupted by the terrorist organisation ISIL. The Netherlands is co-chairing the conference, at which Mr Koenders will meet counterparts from more than 20 countries. The next day Mr Koenders will also speak with fellow ministers from 35 of the anti-ISIL coalition member countries to discuss the progress made in the fight against ISIL.

During the first part of the conference, the countries involved will announce details of their ongoing efforts to support Iraq by giving shelter to displaced people and helping rebuild a safe and stable society.­ On Wednesday Mr Koenders will also announce a further Dutch contribution to assist Iraq, in addition to its existing support for humanitarian aid, military training, demining and stabilisation.

Describing the pledges as crucial to Iraq’s future, Mr Koenders added: ‘ISIL thrives on instability in the region. So we cannot defeat this enemy by military means alone. We also have to invest more in cooperation between the different groups and the people of Iraq. The Iraqi government badly needs our support in order to make economic and political reforms.’

The topics to be discussed at the summit will include military action against ISIL in Iraq and Syria as well as the forthcoming liberation of Mosul and the fight against ISIL networks worldwide. Mr Koenders will also hold talks with his counterparts from Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt and other countries on closer international cooperation to disrupt ISIL’s funding and propaganda and to stop foreign nationals from travelling to ISIL territory to join the conflict.

The Netherlands has participated in the international coalition against ISIL since October 2014, which was established at Iraq’s request. The coalition’s efforts to date have been successful, substantially reducing the territory controlled by the terrorist group in both Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi city of Fallujah was recently liberated and the Iraqi army is now pushing forward to Mosul.

Mr Koenders stressed that international support is still sorely needed, saying: ‘The recent ISIL attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere in the world prove that the fight is far from over.’