Speech by minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström in Washington 22 March 2017

The speech was held in Washington at a ministerial meeting with coalition partners in the fight against ISIL/Daesh.


Let me first thank our host, Secretary of State Tillerson, for bringing us together here today.

Our first priority is to push back ISIL/Daesh militarily.

My government has taken a decision to increase our military presence in Iraq. This will be sent to parliament for a decision during the spring.

Currently, we have 35 people involved in training and education of the Iraqi security forces.

The new decision is aimed at doubling this number.

However, ISIL/Daesh cannot be defeated by military means only.

I would like to make four points:

First: last year we provided USD 46 million in humanitarian aid to the UN-led response to the Syria crisis and USD 22 million to Iraq.

The UNDP's Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilisation in Iraq received USD 10 million – double the previous year's contribution.

UN funds and programmes receive large core contributions from Sweden. In fact, we rank among the top three core donors.

Currently, we are developing a new five-year strategy for Iraq. It will focus on resilience, peacebuilding, and gender equality and female participation. The strategy will encompass up to USD 100 million, and will be launched in the second half of 2017.

Second, we can only tackle terrorism durably if we are sensitive to the political context.

Root causes need to be addressed. National reconciliation, political reforms and inclusiveness are crucial.

In the short term, the stabilization efforts by the Iraqi government and the UN in the liberated areas are vital. As more areas are being liberated from ISIL/Daesh the need for longer term stabilization and civilian support is increasing. EU is well placed to provide such civilian support in the security sector.

For the longer term, the reform efforts initiated by Prime Minister Abadi are very encouraging. Their effective implementation needs to be ensured. The Iraqi government has our full support in these endeavors.

Third, everyone needs to feel they have a stake in the future.

The experiences and voices of women, in particular, must be taken into account to build sustainable peace, and to mitigate risks of radicalisation leading to violent extremism/terrorism.

Young people are vulnerable to ISIL/Daesh propaganda, and must be included in society so as to avoid falling into the marginalisation trap that might lead to violent extremism.

Forth, we need to close gaps that can be used for terrorist financing.

We must do our utmost to hinder financial crime, including money laundering – an enterprise in which ISIL/Daesh is involved.

And let me ask, how do we put an end to trafficking of Yazidi women and girls? How do we cut off fuel supply for vehicles used by ISIL/Daesh?

We know that terrorist financing is difficult to track because it involves small amounts of money.

Even small amounts of money can have deadly consequences, but there are ways to fight back.

Recently, a Swedish man associated with ISIL/Daesh was convicted for running a crowdfunding enterprise. He had encouraged people on Facebook to fund projects linked to terrorist activities.

For Sweden this is a unique sentence. And although it has yet not gained legal force, I hope this sends a clear message that Sweden does not accept its citizens using the internet to boost the income of terrorist organisations.

Thank you.


Pezhman Fivrin
Press Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström
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