World leaders have promised to tighten border controls, step up intelligence sharing and crack down on “terrorist” financing at a summit in Turkey, but there was little sign of a dramatic shift in strategy against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
The G20 summit in Turkey’s coastal province of Antalya has been dominated by Friday’s attacks across Paris, which killed 129 people and underlined the threat posed by the armed group far beyond its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
The two-day summit brought together leaders including US President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin just 500km from Syria, whose four-and-a-half-year conflict has transformed ISIL into a global security threat and sent millions of people fleeing their homes.
“We are concerned over the acute and growing flow of foreign terrorist fighters and the threat it poses for all states, including countries of origin, transit and destination,” the G20 joint statement said.
“We are resolved to address this threat by enhancing our cooperation and developing relevant measures to prevent and tackle this phenomenon, including operational information-sharing, border management to detect travel, preventive measures and appropriate criminal justice response.”
Obama said at a news conference on Monday that the coalition forces were intensifying air strikes against ISIL and targeting the group’s leaders, but that it was clear the ISIL threat was not contained within Iraq and Syria.
Just a day before the Paris assaults, 43 people were killed in an attack in Beirut claimed by ISIL.
“The terrible events in Paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback. Even as we grieve with our French friends, however, we can’t lose sight that there has been progress being made,” Obama said, adding that the US was streamlining its intelligence sharing with France.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the G20’s leaders “agreed to take further important steps to cut off the financing that terrorists rely on”.
Much of the information in the joint statement had been released ahead of the final session of the summit and did not include any specific new measures for combating ISIL.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged deeper intelligence sharing and said leaders in the Muslim world must do more to break the perception that “terrorism” is affiliated with Islam.
“Terrorism has no religion, ethnicity or nationality,” he said. He warned against conflating the refugee crisis facing Europe with the threat from global terrorism, saying to do so would be to shirk a humanitarian responsibility.
ISIL has taken control of large parts of Syria and Iraq. It has committed atrocities against local populations including beheadings and rape and killed thousands of people.
The leaders of the world’s largest economies also said in a joint communique on Monday that they remain committed to a goal of lifting their collective economic output by an additional two percent by 2018, even though growth remains uneven and weaker than expected globally.