Obama to Putin: 'Direct your focus on tackling ISIS'

"We will take back land that they are currently in, we will cut off their financing, we will hunt down their leadership, we will dismantle their networks, and we will ultimately destroy them."

By REUTERS
November 22, 2015 13:45
2 minute read.

Obama: We will ultimately destroy Islamic State

Obama: We will ultimately destroy Islamic State

US President Barack Obama on Sunday (November 22) said the United States and its allies would not relent in its fight to combat Islamic State extremists and would hunt down their leaders and cut off the group's financing.

"So I want to be as clear as I can on this - prejudice and discrimination helps ISIS and undermines our national security. So even as we destroy ISIS on the battlefield - and we will destroy them - we will take back land that they are currently in, we will cut off their financing, we will hunt down their leadership, we will dismantle their networks and their supply lines, and we will ultimately destroy them. Even as we are in the process of doing that, we want to make sure that we don't lose our own values and our own principles," he told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

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"All of which is to say that our coalition will not relent. We will accept the idea that terrorist assaults on restaurants, and theaters, and hotels are the new normal, or that we are powerless to stop them. After all, that is precisely what terrorists like ISIS want, because ultimately that's the way that they can win," he added.

Obama said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a recent trip to Turkey for the G20, and told him it "would be helpful" if Russia directed its focus on tackling Islamic State.

"When we were in Turkey, I discussed with President Putin in a brief pull aside his need to recognize that he needs to go after the people who killed Russian citizens, and those aren't the groups that they were currently hitting with strikes. So, they're going to have to make an adjustment in terms of what they're prioritizing." he said.

He also said he hoped Moscow would agree to a leadership transition in Syria that meant its president stepping down.

"Russia has not officially committed to a transition of Assad (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) moving out, but they did agree to the political transition process, and I think we'll find out over the next several weeks whether or not we can bring about that change of perspective with the Russians," he added.

Obama has been in Malaysia to attend the regional East Asia Summit and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings.


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