Theresa May hails ‘historic moment’ as Islamic State is driven out of Iraq
As a coalition member, the UK has played a role in supporting the Iraqi security forces against IS.
Theresa May has hailed an “historic moment” for Iraq as the country insisted it had driven out Islamic State.
The Prime Minister cautioned, however, that while the extremist group also known as Daesh no longer held significant territory in Iraq or Syria, it had not yet been fully defeated.
The comments came after the PM’s Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi said Iraq had been liberated.
We thank our partners and friends around the world who stood by us and supported us in our battle for liberation. We now need your help to rebuild and ensure a lasting peace in our nation and for a stable region pic.twitter.com/0gEHxZ7p0m— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) December 9, 2017
Mrs May said: “I congratulate prime minister Abadi and all Iraqis on this historic moment. I pay tribute to the Iraqi security forces for their courage and sacrifice.
“Daesh no longer hold significant territory in Iraq or Syria. This signals a new chapter towards a more peaceful, prosperous country.
“I am proud that the UK, as a leading member of the global coalition, has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Iraq to help them open that chapter. I saw the effects of this first hand when I visited last week.
UK Prime Minister @Number10gov statement: "On behalf of the United Kingdom, I congratulate Prime Minister Abadi and all Iraqis on this historic moment. I pay tribute to the Iraqi Security Forces for their courage and sacrifice." https://t.co/R966WvfaNf— The Global Coalition (@coalition) December 9, 2017
“The UK, as a coalition member, has played a leading role in supporting the Iraqi security forces, including the armed forces and the Peshmerga, in the fight against Daesh.
“UK aircraft have launched over 1,350 air strikes in Iraq and have trained over 60,000 members of the Iraqi security forces.
“UK aid provides a vital lifeline to millions of Iraqis with emergency food, shelter, medical care and clean water. We are now supporting the government of Iraq to lay the foundations for an economy that meets the aspirations of all Iraqis.
DefSec: I congratulate President Abadi and the Iraqi Security Forces who have successfully defeated Daesh in Iraq. I am also proud of our own vital role which has included launching over 1,350 air strikes against Daesh and training over 60,000 members of the Iraqi Forces.— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) December 9, 2017
DefSec: We must continue to support the Government of Iraq to ensure their long term security, the lives of the Iraqi and Syrian people, regional stability, and ultimately the security of our own country.— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) December 9, 2017
“We must be clear however, that whilst Daesh is failing, they are not yet defeated. They still pose a threat to Iraq, including from over the Syrian border.
“This is why, during my visit, I announced that the UK will invest £30 million in stabilisation support, £20 million in humanitarian assistance and £10 million to support counter-terrorist capacity building in Iraq.”
The defeat of Da’esh in Iraq is a great achievement - huge sacrifices, resilience & courage of Iraqi people, soldiers & leaders. Honour to support with US-led #Global Coalition. Great challenges lie ahead to secure future & maintain security @coalition @CJTFOIR @brett_mcgurk pic.twitter.com/b0CRO5MN23— Rupert Jones (@rupertthjones) December 9, 2017
Mr al-Abadi formally announced victory over Islamic State in a TV address.
He said: “Honourable Iraqis, your land has been completely liberated. The liberation dream has become a reality.
“We achieved victory in difficult circumstances and with God’s help, the steadfastness of our people and the bravery of our heroic forces we prevailed.”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson praised Iraqi achievements but said Islamic State remained a threat.
“The fight though isn’t over, as the group continue to pose a threat from across the Syrian border.
“They can plan and inspire terrorist attacks, which rally their branches worldwide and continue to inspire others at home and abroad to do us harm.
“We must continue to support the government of Iraq to ensure their long term security, the lives of the Iraqi and Syrian people, regional stability, and ultimately the security of our own country.”