(Reuters) - Arab League foreign ministers agreed on Sunday to take all necessary measures to confront Islamic State and cooperate with international, regional and national efforts to combat militants who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria.
The Arab League also endorsed in the closing statement of its meeting in Cairo a UN Security Council resolution passed last month calling on member states to “act to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and other support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and Syria”.
Baghdad had earlier submitted a draft resolution endorsing its own efforts to confront militants who have seized large areas for a cross-border caliphate and to condemn Islamic State’s actions as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Diplomatic sources said before the meeting that Arab foreign ministers were set to endorse a U.S. aerial campaign against the group and Egypt’s official Mena news agency said the ministers would agree to coordinate with the United States.
The final text did not directly endorse either the Iraqi or U.S. campaign against Islamic State, but diplomatic sources said the wording clearly offered Arab cooperation to U.S. and Iraqi efforts and could be read as a tacit agreement to back Washington’s campaign against the group.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told the session that the rise of the group in Iraq challenged not merely the authority of the state but “its very existence and the existence of other states” and called for a decisive resolution to confront terrorism militarily, politically, economically and culturally.
Arabi suggested that military action could take place under the umbrella of an Arab League joint defense pact.
It was not clear whether the Arab commitment to take all necessary action against Islamic State and other militant groups would include direct military involvement in Iraq or Syria.
Cairo-Iraqi draft Arab league resolution says ISIS actions constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity