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In Middle East, Kerry Seeks Coalition Against Islamic State

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling Tuesday to the Middle East, where he will discuss the situation in Iraq and the threat posed by Islamic State militants.

He is due to meet with officials in Jordan and Saudi Arabia and consult other allies during the trip.

In a speech Monday night, Kerry said he is working to build the "broadest coalition possible" to confront and defeat the Islamic State group, also known by the initials ISIL.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s Trip to the Middle East
Secretary of State John Kerry’s Trip to the Middle East

"As we build this coalition, I want to underscore that almost every single country on Earth has a role to play in eliminating the ISIL threat and the evil that it represents. For some, that will mean military assistance, both direct and in the form of training, arming and advising, equipping. For some, it will mean contributing to the desperately needed humanitarian relief effort," said Kerry.

He said other assistance will involve cutting off militant funding, preventing the flow of foreign fighters and counteracting propaganda.


Kerry also praised Iraq's parliament for approving a new unity government, calling the step a milestone for the country and a "cornerstone" of U.S. efforts against Islamic State extremists.

U.S. officials have stressed the need for an inclusive Iraqi government that brings together Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds in a united front against the Islamic State militants, who have taken over large parts of northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

Kerry said the government led by new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has the potential of bringing together all of Iraq's diverse communities and building the future its people desire.

Abadi replaces Nouri al-Maliki, whose apparent marginalization of Iraq's Sunni minority played a part in the rise of Islamic State.

Parliament's approval of a new government Monday came after months of arguing between lawmakers over which faction would head up which office, including the major posts of prime minister and parliamentary speaker.

President Barack Obama plans to address the American people Wednesday on his strategy to deal with Islamic State. It is likely to include what Secretary Kerry calls a global coordinated coalition that could operate for years.

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