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Leaders Meet In Paris To Forge Fight Against Islamic State Militants

World leaders and diplomats from more than 20 countries have gathered in Paris to discuss strategies for defeating the Islamic State insurgency, with France's president urging that there's "no time to lose" and Iraq's new president insisting that extremists must be pursued to their sanctuaries in neighboring Syria.

"The Iraqis' fight against terrorists is also ours," French President Francois Hollande said. "There is no time to lose."

Iraq's new president, Fuad Masum, said: "We must not allow them to have sanctuaries.

"We must pursue them wherever they are," he said.

Monday's gathering comes a day after ISIS militants released a video purporting to show the beheading of British worker David Haines. Earlier, similar videos of American freelance journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were released by the group.

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said he's "extremely encouraged" by pledges of military assistance against the Sunni militancy and that he's gotten promises of support from about 40 countries, including 10 Arab nations, to join the fight against ISIS.

NPR's Deborah Amos, reporting from southern Turkey, says several Arab countries pledged airstrikes — and even ground troops — effectively broadening the coalition beyond the West.

"Australia has sent fighter jets to the region, and Britain and now France are flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq," Deborah says.

The Guardian says:

"As western diplomats reported that several Arab states had offered to join a US-led coalition carrying out air strikes on the insurgents, [British Prime Minister David] Cameron said the UK was 'ready to take whatever steps are necessary' to deal with the threat of Isis.

"Before the conference began, France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, announced that French aircraft were to begin reconnaissance flights over Iraq. 'We told the Iraqis we were available and asked them for authorisation,' he told Europe 1, but added there was 'no question of sending ground troops.' "

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman
Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.