Davos: Kerry urges plan to tackle causes of terrorism

US secretary of state tells Davos conference more must be done to tackle extremism

US secretary of state John Kerry has called for an ambitious international plan to combat the underlying causes of terrorism.

In a lengthy address to the World Economic Forum in Davos which focused on conflict in the Middle East, Pakistan and Africa, Mr Kerry said the threat of terrorism was a global menace, with terrorist groups looking to expand.

“It seems that terrorists are now competing with each other for recruits and perpetrating evermore macabre crimes,” Mr Kerry said.

“Eliminating the terrorists who confront us today actually only solves part of the problem. We have to do more to avoid an endless cycle of violent extremism, a resupplying on a constant basis. We have to transform the very environment from which these movements emerge.”


He also announced he would travel to Nigeria, a country which has been racked by attacked by Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

Terrorism and the need for a collective response to the threat of radical Islam was a central theme of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which finishes today in the Swiss resort.

Addressing delegates on Friday, the Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi said his country had received increased support from Western countries and from Iran in fighting Islamic state.

"I have received quite sizeable (amounts of) ammunition free of charge. And we have been promised deferred payments on some arms sales to Iraq, " Mr al-Abadi said, referring to Western countries. Iran had also sent Iraq arms and ammunition without requesting immediate payments, the Iraqi premier said

Despite tensions between Tehran and Washington, Iran has been aiding Iraq in the fight against Islamic State, though Mr al-Abadi said that no Iranian soldier had fought on Iraqi soil.

The US has been leading air-strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria since September.

The threat of extremist groups was also addressed by French president Francois Hollande in a speech to the World Economic Forum in which he called on the world's biggest corporates to participate in the fight against terrorism, by taking action against money laundering and trafficking.

Speaking on Friday, President Hollande also highlighted the role that technology and internet companies could play in ensuring that “illegal content” was taken off the web, saying governments could not fight terrorism on their own.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent