Tough new phase starting in battle against IS: Italy
Rome Feb 14 (IANS/AKI) A new and "challenging" stage is beginning in the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group Italy s Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said.
"A new and challenging phase is starting that will require different but no less demanding efforts " Pinotti told a meeting in Rome of defence ministers from the US-led coalition against IS on Tuesday.
"It is the time for reflection and political and strategic review of the future of our fight against jihadist terrorism " Pinotti said.
"IS has been routed from its territory but its deadly ideology has not been vanquished " she said.
Pinotti and US Defence Secretary James Mattis were among 15 defence ministers attending Tuesday s summit focused on foreign fighters and the reconstruction of areas of Iraq and Syria formerly under IS control.
Meanwhile Italy s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said on Tuesday that the global coalition against the Islamic State was now at a "crucial" stage in its battle to eradicate jihadist group.
Although the IS had been seriously weakened by its defeats in Iraq and Syria much remained to be done to prevent a resurgence of the group and to reconstruct the areas it once controlled Alfano told a coalition meeting in Kuwait City.
"We have defeated IS freeing at least eight million people from the jihadists grip " he said. "Now the crucial stage of our mission begins."