G20 concludes united against terror

G20 leaders unite to fight against terrorism as summit concludes

Photo by: TRTWorld
Photo by: TRTWorld

The G20 summit in Turkey was unlike any other.

The indiscriminate attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people ensured the focus was on terrorism and security.

But the location was also significant.

The summit took place in Antalya, a resort just 500 km (310 miles) from the killing fields in Syria, whose conflict has transformed DAESH, also known as ISIS, into a global security threat.

"ISIS is the face of evil," US President Obama said at the conclusion of the summit. "Our goal is to... destroy this barbaric organisation.”

At the end of the summit, world leaders agreed to tighten border controls, improve intelligence sharing and crackdown on those who finance extremist groups.

“When it comes to combating terrorism we are more than ready to cooperate with all of our international friends,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“This combat requires international cooperation and solidarity in a sincere manner,” he added.

But there are still clear dividing lines among the international community over how to end the war in Syria.

The US wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand aside while Russia backs him.

Russian military action in Syria has also been widely criticised by Turkey and its western allies, for targeting what they’ve described as moderate Syrian opposition groups, not DAESH.

"The recent tragic events in France prove that we have to, and we should have done it long time ago, unite efforts to fight such evil as terrorism,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“As for bilateral relations - unfortunately we are not going through the best time,” said Mr Putin, openly discussing the divisions between Britain and Russia in front of the world’s media.

Russian intervention in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine and the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 last year have all raised tensions between Russia and the west.

The French President Francois Hollande has said France is committed to destroying DAESH.

He also says he will travel to meet Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin in the coming days to discuss the group.

Could that pave the way for a grand coalition focused on targeting the extremists?

US officials have already said Presidents’ Obama and Putin have agreed to the need for a political transition in Syria.

But it’s unclear whether western allies will push for a significant strategic shift in how they deal with DAESH.

Author: Duncan Crawford