Washington: US President Barack Obama is planning to hold a separate meeting on ISIS with world leaders when they converge here for the two-day Nuclear Security Summit later this week, the White House has said.
“Since there will be so many world leaders in Washington, DC for the Nuclear Security Summit, the President is planning to hold a meeting focused on ISIL and focused on our coalition’s efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy that terrorist organisation,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.
Leaders from some 40 countries, including heads of States from two dozen, are likely to attend the two-day summit on March 31 and April 1.
“That is not because our foremost concern is that ISIL is in grave danger of getting their hands on nuclear materials; it will be focused on the broader threat. But obviously the prospect of ISIL getting access to any sort of nuclear material is something that must be avoided. And that will certainly be part of the conversation,” Earnest said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive here in the wee hours of Thursday to attend the summit.
The White House has not yet released the list of leaders who have been invited to attend the special session on ISIS.
Earnest said the Obama administration has been concerned about the threat that continues to emanate from al-Qaeda.
“What is different now is that al-Qaeda core that had previously operated with some impunity in the Afghanistan or Pakistan region has been decimated because of the actions taken by the US military in that region of the world.
“But there are other affiliates of al-Qaeda that remain dangerous. This did not get a lot of attention last week, but I thought I would just point out that last week, the US conducted an airstrike in Yemen that took dozens of fighters off the battlefield,” he said.
“That is an indication that for all of the chaos inside of Yemen and all of the chaos inside of the region that is being perpetuated by ISIL, that this administration has not taken our eye off the ball when it comes to the threat that is posed by al-Qaeda,” Earnest added.