Kerry arrives in Jeddah for Iraq and Syria talks

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Kerry in Saudi

IRAQ-CRISIS/KERRY-SAUDI:Kerry arrives in Saudi for Iraq and Syria talks

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jeddah on Friday to discuss the crises in Iraq and Syria with Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and meet Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba.

The Obama administration earlier asked for $500 million from Congress to train and equip vetted members of Syria’s opposition, the most significant move so far by the US to support those fighting against President Bashar Assad.

The talks with the Saudi leaders are part of diplomatic efforts by the US to press regional leaders to tackle the threat by Islamist militants in both conflicts. On Thursday, King Abdullah ordered “all measures” to be taken to protect Saudi Arabia against militants.

Washington has placed its hopes in forming a new, more inclusive government in Baghdad that would undermine the insurgency led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

On Thursday, Kerry met with foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and UAE to inform them of plans for air strikes against ISIL once a new government is formed.

The US also wants these countries to do more to cut off the flow of funding from private donors to ISIL.

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