World leaders respond to Paris attack at G20 summit

Against the backdrop of the Paris terror attack which claimed the lives of 129, world leaders gathering for the tenth annual meeting of the G20 at Turkey’s Mediterranean city of Antalya pledged a commitment to defeating ISIS terror.

Of the 20 world leaders expected, only French President Francois Hollande did not attend, choosing to send Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in his place.

While outlining immediate action, representatives discussed measures to tighten European borders, mutual cooperation on intelligence, managing an endless flow of refugees from Syria, a means to strangle ISIS’ capital and recognition of ISIS as a global threat; however, no cohesive military strategy emerged.

France launched a series of airstrikes against ISIS positions in Syria on Sunday; Laurent Fabius described the retaliatory bombing as “self-defense.”

Expressing concern in Washington about the possibility of further attacks on Monday, CIA Director John Brennan, speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum, stated:

“I certainly would not consider it a one-off event.”  

There did, however, appear to be one consensus which grew from meetings:  One White House official disclosed a plan for Syria which included a ceasefire followed by elections in the besieged country.

Meetings in Vienna this week are specifically designed to bring the Syria question to a head and will be attended by leaders from the United Nations, European Union and Arab League.

A considerable point of dissent is whether or not Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad will remain as leader in Damascus.  The United States has long contended Assad abandon his power; Russia appears ambivalent, but is committed to Assad keeping his position until ISIS and anti-Assad rebels are crushed.

Let’s hope the Paris attack will force world leaders to put aside minor conflicts or individual disagreements.

Savvy observers typically dismiss global summits as little more than a photo opportunity and stale vows for economic collaboration.  With Paris in the rear-view mirror but a reminder of what could lay ahead, this is no time for self-delusion:  ISIS has declared it has no intention of becoming part of an epoch of civility.

 

[Reuters] [CNN] [Photo courtesy antalyainvestment.com]