US President Barack Obama passed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York, aimed at stemming the flow of foreign fighters travelling to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS jihadists.
The resolution was unanimously agreed upon by all 15 UNSC member countries, including Australia.
For only the second time in the history of the UNSC, a United States President chaired the leader-level meeting.
“I called this meeting because we must come together as nations and as an international community to confront a real and growing threat of foreign terrorist fighters,” Obama said.
“Around the world, foreign terrorist fighters have been arrested, plots have been disrupted and lives have been saved,” Obama said.
Obama warned the Council that at least 15,000 individuals from more than 80 countries had travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the terrorist movement.
He said foreign fighters radicalised by groups like ISIS pose a real threat to security if and when they decide to return to their home countries.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who attended the meeting in New York, backed the US-drafted mandate and pledged Australia’s full support to help curb the stream of would-be militia to the Middle East.
“We must be vigilant at home and vigilant abroad,” Abbott said in a statement to Australian media following the Council’s session.
The Australian government has cancelled at least 60 passports over the past two years, however, there are believed to be around 150 Australians who have managed to travel abroad and join Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Abbott said “exhortations coming from Syria and Iraq” are a real threat to Australia, adding “Australian security has got to be the most important concern.”
“There’s no doubt that the difficulties of the 2003 invasion in Iraq and its aftermath has cast a long shadow… This is very different from 2003. This conflict is reaching out to us,” he said.
The Prime Minister also stressed that Australia was “carefully considering” the decision to take military action in the Middle East.
“We have no intention at this point of seeking to enter into combat operations in Syria. No intention of independent combat operations on the ground in Iraq. Yet, we are prepared to be helpful, more than helpful to disrupt and degrade ISIL,” Abbott said.
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