Kerry in Southeast Asia seeking support against IS

JAKARTA: US Secretary of State John Jerry arrived in Indonesia Monday to attend Joko Widodo’s presidential inauguration and press Southeast Asian nations to step up their efforts in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Kerry is among foreign dignitaries visiting Jakarta for the inauguration of Widodo, a former furniture exporter who is the first leader of the world’s third-biggest democracy to come from outside the political and military elites.

During his one-day visit, the United States’ top diplomat will use a series of bilateral meetings to urge Widodo, known by his nickname Jokowi, and other Southeast Asian leaders to take more action against the growing threat from IS, officials said.

During the meetings, “I would put at the top of the list the international effort to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” said a senior state department official, using an alternative name to refer to the group.

“Breaking it down, the effort to combat violent extremism, to block recruitment, and to protect against the solicitation of foreign fighters,” the official added.

“To guard against the return of hardened fighters to the region, debunking and denigrating extremist propaganda, blocking illicit terrorist financing”.

As well as Widodo, Kerry is due to meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the sultan of Brunei and Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Source: APP