Kerry: ‘We must shut borders’ to defeat ISIS

John Kerry, seen here being interviewed by Al Arabiya's Washington DC bureau chief Hisham Melhem.

John Kerry, seen here being interviewed by Al Arabiya’s Washington DC bureau chief Hisham Melhem.

Borders which link up to territory occupied by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants should be closed as part of international efforts to defeat the group, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel on Friday.

In the interview, which aired the same day, Kerry said that the U.S. had secured “significant guarantees” from American allies in the Middle East.

“We must shut borders,” he said. “There are guarantees to help on foreign fighters, on financing, on borders – border control, on military, on aid, training, and even on direct military action.”

Kerry also praised Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, who he described as being “absolutely critical” in the fight against ISIS.

“Baghdad and others within Iraq as a whole should say thank you to the Peshmerga who have been essential in the fight of taking back Mosul Dam, of holding the line so that ISIL couldn’t go to Erbil,” he said.

Iran and ISIS

On the role that Iran could play in combating ISIS, Kerry said: “We welcome whatever Iran chooses to do or thinks it can do to deal with ISIS,” and added that while the U.S. remained “open to communication,” it was “not in a position right now” to coordinate with Tehran.

Kerry re-emphasized the Obama administration’s line that a solution to the three-and-a-half year Syrian conflict must be political, rather than military.

“We do not believe there is a military solution, ultimately, to Syria. You have to have a political solution, and that is a political solution that protects all of the interests of everybody – minorities all have to be protected,” he said.

The U.S. top diplomat’s comments came the same day that France joined U.S. forces acting in Iraqi skies, destroying a logistics depot.

A day earlier, Obama praised France’s decision to join American forces in conducting air strikes against ISIS, as part of his plan to construct an international coalition of over 40 nations to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the extremist group.

 
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