Ministerial meeting of the International Coalition to defeat Daesh (Riyadh)
Thank you, Your Highness, Minister Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, and thank you Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, for co-hosting this meeting of the Global Coalition against Daesh. It is a pleasure to be here in Riyadh. We are grateful for your hospitality, dear Faisal, and congratulations for the excellent organization.
As a founding member and strong supporter of our Coalition, Belgium is proud that our collective commitment and our joint efforts have resulted in the demise of the so-called Califate in Syria and Iraq. Millions of people could return home.
Nevertheless security and humanitarian challenges remain. We therefore believe it is crucial to keep the focus on what is called the Core. It is the priority of the Coalition.
The conflict in Syria is, unfortunately, not over yet. The only viable and durable way out of the conflict is progress in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and through the UN-mediated political process. We took note of normalizations in the region with Damascus and we would like underline that this must lead to the advancement towards a political solution to the conflict.
The dire humanitarian situation remains of particular concern. It is a well-known risk factor. The recent devastating earthquake only worsened the situation. The humanitarian impasse can lead to marginalization. Together with indoctrination these could be drivers for radicalization and violent extremism. Therefore we must continue our efforts to alleviate the conditions conducive to the rise of Daesh, including in camps.
Belgium contributes to improving the stabilization efforts in Iraq and Syria through various humanitarian support and projects, such as humanitarian demining actions, as well as through our role in repatriating all Belgian mothers and children from camps.
We welcome the new 2023 funding priorities which are presented today. Continuity in our contributions is key to achieve durable solutions. I can assure you that Belgium will continue to contribute as it has done in the past. We foresee financial commitment along the same lines as last year.
In addition we are considering providing support for the repatriation of Iraqi nationals. In particular through supporting access to civil documentation and protection systems for vulnerable populations in Iraq, we believe that enhancements can be made in civilian-led counterterrorism capabilities.
Additionally Belgium is active in military and civil capacity building in Africa.
We value our military cooperation with the Democratic Republic of Congo in its battle against the ADF/IS-CAP (Islamic State Central Africa Province). In line with our “comprehensive approach” (mainly defense, development, diplomacy, but also interior, justice, academic collaboration). We also have a partnership with Niger (the Torodi project) is combining security and development.
Belgium congratulates Togo on becoming the 86th member of the Coalition which can only strengthen our resolve in West-Africa.
As far as ISIS-Khorasan and Afghanistan is concerned, we definitely agree on the scope and the seriousness of the challenge. Afghanistan cannot become a sanctuary for Daesh and Al-Qaida. It is key to reflect on our means of influence and how to act accordingly. A closer cooperation with countries of Central Asia is a must.
To conclude, allow me to reiterate Belgium’s commitment to the Coalition’s goal of defeating completely, Daesh and its affiliated terrorist groups in Syria, in Iraq and everywhere else in the world.