ANTALYA, Turkey — World leaders vowed Monday to boost intelligence-sharing, cut off terrorist funding and strengthen border security in Europe, as they sought to show resolve and unity following the deadly terror attacks in Paris.
U.S. President Barack Obama said ISIS is “the face of evil” and called on nations to do more to combat the threat it poses. He said that rather than cast about for a new strategy, the U.S. would intensify its current campaign of airstrikes and arming and training moderate forces.
“We need to be doing everything we can to protect against attacks and protect our citizens,” Obama said at a news conference closing two days of talks as leaders from the Group of 20 rich and developing nations wrapped up a two-day summit.
Added German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “We agreed that the challenge can’t just be tackled with military mean, but only a multitude of measures.”
Still, the leaders largely spoke of their agreements in broad strokes, with few specifics. Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized the need to cut off the Islamic State’s ability to generate revenue through oil smuggling. And British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to host a donor conference early next year to raise “significant new funding” to tackle the flood of refugees spilling out of Syria.
“None of this is a substitute for the next urgent need of all: to find a political solution that brings peace to Syria and enables the millions of refugees to return home,” Cameron said.
The leaders’ meeting came against the backdrop of heavy French bombardment of the Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria. The U.S. was expanding its intelligence sharing with the French and helping them identify targets, according to American officials.
Numerous discussions about next steps in Syria and the Islamic State campaign were held Monday on the sidelines of the summit in the Turkish seaside resort of Antalya.
Obama huddled with European leaders from France, Britain, Germany and Italy for talks on Syria and Ukraine. French President Francois Hollande skipped the summit to stay home and deal with the aftermath of the attacks, but Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius attended the meeting with the U.S. president.
Putin, a key player in ending the conflict in Syria that created a vacuum for the Islamic State, met separately with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Cameron.
Putin and Cameron both emphasized the need for joint action against terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks.
“The latest tragic events in Paris show that we have to unite our efforts in fighting this evil, something we should have done long time ago,” Putin said.
Putin launched an air campaign in Syria a month-and-half ago with the Islamic State as the top declared target. The U.S. and its allies, however, have accused Moscow of focusing on other rebel groups in a bid to shore up Syria’s leader Bashar Assad, whom the West sees as the main cause of the Syrian conflict and the chief obstacle to peace.
Nearly five years of clashes between Assad’s forces and opposition groups have left more than 250,000 people dead, created a vacuum for the Islamic State and other extremists groups to thrive, and spurred a massive refugee crisis in Europe.