WASHINGTON — In a statement, Defense Secretary Ash Carter commended the Netherlands for its announcement today that its pilots will expand their current mission over Iraq to participate in coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in eastern Syria.

“I also appreciate the announcement of additional funding to support moderate armed Syrian opposition groups with civilian means and medical assistance, consideration of additional support to the Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga, and additional funding for the restoration of damaged hospitals, schools and other infrastructure,” Carter said.

During discussions in Paris last week, the defense secretary met with his counterparts from six of the leading contributors to the campaign to counter ISIL, including Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.

While there, Carter said the “lasting defeat of ISIL must be a global undertaking, because it is a global threat.”

The nations at the meeting reached broad agreement on the military campaign plan and the capabilities required to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat, the defense secretary said, “and we each committed to further aligning our contributions to meet those needs in order to continue accelerating that campaign.”

Carter said he was grateful for Hennis-Plasschaert's “immediate action following last week's meeting, and for the continuing commitment from the Dutch people to this fight.” “They have provided a strong example for the 26 nation military coalition, which will gather in Brussels along with representatives from the Iraqi government in two weeks to discuss the progress of the campaign and what additional capabilities are needed from every member nation,” he said.   back...
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