US summit ends with little concrete action

US summit ends with little concrete action

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US summit ends with little concrete action

US President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. REUTERS Photo.

The United States sought to unite nations around a common vision for combating violent jihadist groups in three days of talks which ended on Feb. 19 long on words but short on concrete steps.

In the wake of shocking beheadings and murders by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, as well as a series of lone attacks in European cities, governments must remain “unwavering in our fight against terrorist organizations,” President Barack Obama said.

He vowed to ministers from some 60 nations to continue to hunt down Al-Qaeda militants in places like Yemen and Somalia and to help shore up fragile nations to “prevent ungoverned spaces where terrorists find safe haven.”       

In a statement released at the end of the talks, the participants promised to “chart a path for progress” ahead of summit talks on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September.

But amid controversy over Obama’s refusal to specify that the summit was aimed at confronting Islamic militants, the statement noted “the term ‘violent extremism’ like ‘terrorism,’ should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.”      

“The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie,” Obama insisted.

Republican hawk John McCain immediately turned the words back on the president, tweeting: “The notion that radical Islam isn’t at war with the West is an ugly lie.”