Monday 19 August 2019

G20 leaders pledge 'strong' response to terror threat

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan waits to shake the hand of Barack Obama, following their meeting in Antalya (AP)
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan waits to shake the hand of Barack Obama, following their meeting in Antalya (AP)

World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey.

US President Barack Obama called the violence an "attack on the civilised world" and Russian President Vladimir Putin urged "global efforts" to confront the threat.

But beyond the tough talk and calls for action, there was little indication of how leaders intended to escalate the assault on the extremist group.

The attacks in the heart of Europe - combined with earlier incidents in Lebanon and Turkey, as well as the downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt - suggest IS militants are reaching beyond their base in Iraq and Syria, an expansion the West has feared.

"The skies have been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago," Mr Obama said shortly after arriving in Antalya, a seaside resort city just a few hundred miles from the Syrian border. He waved off a question from reporters about whether he would authorise additional action against IS.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the summit host, pledged leaders would produce a "strong message" about fighting international terrorism, though he did not spell out specific steps.

Mr Putin urged nations to pool their efforts to combat terrorism, adding that the fight must respect international law, the UN Charter and each nation's sovereign rights and interests.

"We understand very well that it's only possible to deal with the terror threat and help millions of people who lost their homes by combining efforts of the entire global community," Mr Putin said.

While US officials said Mr Obama viewed the attacks in France as an act of war, they cautioned he had no plans to overhaul his strategy for dismantling IS and said he remained staunchly opposed to an American ground war in Syria. Instead, they foreshadowed an expansion of steps the US is already taking, namely air strikes and train-and-equip missions for rebels inside Syria.

The Paris violence ratcheted up the urgency at the annual meeting of leading rich and developing nations. At least 129 people were killed in Friday's co-ordinated attacks around Paris.

PA Media

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