The global coalition against the Islamic State group gathered Wednesday in Morocco to coordinate efforts to prevent the jihadists staging a revival in the Middle East and North Africa.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was to co-host the meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, but Washington’s top diplomat tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by senior diplomat Victoria Nuland.
Senior officials from dozens of other countries are also attending the meeting, under high security at a discreet luxury hotel in Marrakesh.
The discussions were to cover “stabilization efforts in areas previously impacted by Daesh,” strategic communication against the group’s “radicalization propaganda” and the battle against foreign fighters, the Moroccan foreign ministry said.
The meeting comes three years after the coalition helped Syrian fighters to crush the “caliphate” IS had proclaimed in Iraq and Syria and as the jihadists step up their efforts to bolster their presence in the Sahel region and West Africa.
The Global Coalition against Daesh (an Arabic acronym for IS) was formed in 2014 after the militants seized huge swathes of Iraq and Syria and now included 84 states and international organizations.
Officials have long warned that IS continues to pose a worldwide threat despite its loss of a territorial base.
IS has vowed to take vengeance for its elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, killed in a US raid in northern Syria in late 2019.
It has also urged its supporters to take advantage of the war in Ukraine to carry out attacks in Europe.