Following a first-ever meeting of the chief contributors to the counter-ISIS fight, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his French counterpart in Paris endorsed the stepped-up military campaign against the Islamic State and called for more countries and capabilities to join the fight.
Carter said that to continue the momentum and determine what capabilities are needed, he has invited a larger group of defense ministers from 26 countries—including Iraq—to a first-ever meeting in Brussels in three weeks.
Among the objectives of that meeting: get local Arab forces into the fight.
“We are very much looking to the countries of the [Persian] Gulf,” Carter said of the coalition’s need to consolidate security in the region with additional military and non-military help, including economic and reconstruction aid.
“We agreed that we all must do more,” he said. The two spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon at France’s version of the Pentagon, the Hexagone-Balard.
“Daesh also must be uprooted in the minds of men,” said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, calling on leaders to avoid a “pitfall of rhetoric” that “this is a war of religion.”