Sophie Wilmès chairs the ministerial meeting of the International Coalition against Daesh

Photo of the virtual ministerial meeting of the International Coalition to defeat Daesh

On March 30, 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès co-chaired with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken a virtual ministerial meeting of the International Coalition to defeat Daesh. This meeting in restricted format brings together the 32 States and international organizations most involved in its action.

Today's ministerial meeting demonstrated the unity and solidarity of the Coalition and the continued commitment of its members as expressed in the joint communiqué issued at the end of the meeting. In the face of the continuing challenge posed by Daesh, Ministers reaffirmed the goal of ensuring the sustainable defeat of the terrorist group and reiterated their support for the Coalition and our Iraqi partners. Stabilization efforts were also at the heart of the meeting with the announcement of stabilization needs for 2021 amounting to US$ 670 million.

The fight against terrorism has been a priority of Belgian foreign policy for several years. In this perspective, our country actively participates in international cooperation at European and UN levels, as well as in the International Coalition against Daesh. The Belgian co-presidency of this meeting is fully in line with this perspective reflecting the active participation of our country in the activities of the Coalition since its creation in 2014. Sophie Wilmès: "We must remain cautious: Daesh has not been defeated. The last few months have shown that our common enemy is adapting and is even a new threat. As the 2016 terrorist attacks demonstrated, the security of the Belgian people may depend directly on international developments. In line with the Coalition's philosophy, Belgium applies a holistic approach in the fight against terrorism. A balance is sought between a preventive and a repressive dimension in order to increase effectiveness."

Within the framework of the Coalition, the aim is to optimize the continuity and coherence of Belgian action by balancing the military dimension of our commitment in the fight against Daesh with the humanitarian and stabilization dimension. Our country is militarily engaged through the deployment of 4 Belgian F-16's in Iraq and in the north-east of Syria until October 2021 while being a regular contributor to stabilization efforts. Since 2016, more than 18 million euros have been allocated to the reconstruction of Iraq, to demining in Iraq and in the north-east of Syria as well as to the improvement of living conditions in the camps.