REPORTING FROM CAIRO — A day after what amounted to a call to arms from President Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Thursday won cautious promises from regional allies to help in the fight against the Islamic State, the Sunni Muslim extremist group which now controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq.
In a joint statement issued in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, and other Persian Gulf states, together with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, declared their support for a common stand against terrorism, and pledged concrete steps including stopping foreign fighters on their way to the fight in Iraq and Syria, and shutting down conduits for funding.
In addition, the communique promised to join in "aspects of a coordinated military campaign" against the Islamic State, adding the caveat that such support would come "as appropriate." Turkey, a NATO ally, attended the talks, but did not sign the declaration.
Kerry had arrived earlier Thursday in Saudi Arabia to press regional officials to support the newly expanded U.S.-led campaign against the militants of the Islamic State. The consultations came a day after Obama outlined a strategy to reverse the stunning territorial gains made over the summer by the group.
Obama said an aerial offensive would target its fighters "wherever they exist," signaling a widening of the campaign of U.S. airstrikes launched against the group in Iraq last month. The gathering in Saudi Arabia was aimed at cementing what Obama said would be a "broad coalition" arrayed against the Islamic State.
Kerry held initial consultations with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and was to meet later with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. In Egypt, the state Middle East News Agency reported that an American diplomatic delegation had arrived in Cairo on Thursday to lay the groundwork for an expected visit by Kerry.
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