| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

UK commits to anti-Daesh funding at Saudi meeting

On June 8, the UK’s Minister for the Middle East participated in the ministerial-level meeting of the Saudi-hosted Global Coalition Against Daesh in Riyadh. During the meeting, the minister pledged financial support for anti-terrorism initiatives and humanitarian efforts in Iraq and Syria.
Lord Ahmad, minister of state for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and UN, also highlighted the UK’s commitment to the coalition’s strategy of returning and reintegrating Iraqis displaced by Daesh violence.
The 86-member coalition met in Riyadh at the invitation of Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan.
Following the collapse of Daesh, the coalition’s efforts are now aimed at reintegrating internally displaced people through job training and anti-extremism drives, as well as meeting humanitarian challenges in Syria through direct funding.
Lord Ahmad outlined the UK’s commitment of £87.8 million ($110 million) toward countering Daesh over the next five years in northeast Syria and Iraq. The funding will support counterterrorism, stabilization and socioeconomic development in the region, a press release said.
As part of the UK’s efforts, the International Organization for Migration and the UN Development Program will both be supported in easing barriers to return for internally displaced Iraqis, including those in Syria’s Al-Hol camp.
Over the next two years, the UK will also provide £16 million to address the humanitarian disaster in northeast Syria, providing more than 75,000 people with aid, social support and programs to grant women access to education and jobs.
Lord Ahmad said: “Though territorially defeated, Daesh is a threat that continues to destroy lives — not only in liberated areas of Iraq and Syria, but also in Afghanistan and parts of Africa where its affiliates are active.
“I am proud of the UK’s continuing role in eradicating Daesh, including rebuilding communities affected by its terrorism, and leading global efforts against its poisonous propaganda.”
In a joint statement released by Prince Faisal and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the coalition highlighted its support for a lasting political settlement in Syria.
As part of maintaining stability in areas liberated from Daesh, “durable solutions” for former Daesh fighters detained in the Al-Hol and Roj camps must include humanitarian access and aid, the coalition added.
The UK’s funding commitment is part of a pledge drive launched by ministers targeting a goal of $601 million for liberated areas in Iraq and Syria.
Following the Riyadh meeting, Lord Ahmad will travel to Turkiye for a global diplomacy conference, marking the first UK ministerial visit to the country since the reelection of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 28.
The event in Turkiye will be chaired by Lord Ahmad’s counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akcapar, and will include discussions on Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Ukraine.
Lord Ahmad said: “I look forward to visiting Istanbul to strengthen the UK’s important partnership with Turkiye and to discuss a broad range of foreign-policy issues.”

  • Arab News