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NATO leaders agree to form anti-Islamic State coalition chaired by Britain and U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled plans for an international coalition to combat the Islamic State.

By JC Finley
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NATO leaders agree to form anti-Islamic State coalition chaired by Britain and U.S.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, pictured on August 12, announced at the NATO Summit in Wales on September 5, 2014 the establishment of an international coalition to combat the Islamic State. (UPI/U.S. State Department) | License Photo

NEWPORT, Wales, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday from the NATO Summit in Wales that the U.S. and Britain are chairing a coalition to combat the Islamic State terror group, and inviting the participation of NATO members.

"We and the Ministers agreed here today that there is no time to waste in building a broad international coalition to degrade and, ultimately, to destroy the threat posed by ISIL," Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a joint statement following a meeting about IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL.

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The U.S. and Britain are urging Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Turkey to contribute to the coalition's efforts, which will include:

-- Military support to our Iraqi partners; -- Stopping the flow of foreign fighters; -- Countering ISIL's financing and funding; -- Addressing humanitarian crises; and -- De-legitimizing ISIL's ideology

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Speaking to reporters, Kerry emphasized that U.S. President Barack Obama, who acknowledged a week earlier that he had no strategy for combating IS in Syria, "is totally committed; there is a strategy that is clear, becoming more clear by the day. And it really relies on a holistic approach to ISIL."

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That "holistic" approach, Kerry and Hagel explained, encompasses military support, law enforcement, intelligence, economic development and diplomacy. Kerry added that such an strategy could serve as a model for combating other terror groups, including Boko Haram and al-Shabaab.

The Secretary of State underlined that the coalition's efforts would not involve U.S. troop commitment. "I think that's a red line for everybody here, no boots on the ground," he said. "Nevertheless, there are many ways in which we can train, advise, assist and equip."

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