Kerry warns of new challenge in securing Iraq after Islamic State

Kerry warns of new challenge in securing Iraq after Islamic State
# 21 July 2016 05:20 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The battlefield momentum in Iraq and Syria has shifted against Islamic State, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday, but the international community must now also confront the challenge of stabilizing newly liberated areas, APA reports quoting Reuters.

"The momentum has shifted," Kerry told an international conference to raise funds for Iraq at a critical juncture in the military campaign. "The new challenge that we face is securing and aiding for the recovery of a liberated area."

Lise Grande, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, warned that military victories will prove transient if the needs of Iraqis displaced by the conflict are not addressed.

"The military campaign will have achieved a great short-term success, but perhaps little else of enduring impact," she said.

The officials spoke as defense and foreign ministers gathered to also agree on next steps in the two-year-long fight against Islamic State, in particular the militant group's bastion in Mosul.

The Iraq donor conference raised more than $2.1 billion in aid, State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. The United Nations has said that, under a worst-case scenario, it could take $2 billion in relief and stabilization funds to deal just with the civilian impact of the Mosul battle and its aftermath.

With the early stages of the Mosul campaign underway, plans are still being finalized to provide urgent humanitarian aid and restore basic services and security for residents and as many as 2.4 million displaced people.

"Most of our conversations today ... were about what happens after the defeat of ISIL," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said after a separate meeting of about 30 defense ministers at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, using an acronym for Islamic State.