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Allies Pledge to Contribute More to ISIS Fight But Offer Few Specifics

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter addresses a press conference in Stuttgart, Germany, on May 4, 2016 (Photos: Daniel Roland/AFP)
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter addresses a press conference in Stuttgart, Germany, on May 4, 2016 (Photos: Daniel Roland/AFP)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter received pledges -- and only pledges thus far -- from main allies Wednesday in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS to contribute more to the fight while increasing their own defense spending.

"With your help it will go faster," Carter told the defense ministers of 11 allied nations at the start of a meeting in Stuttgart, Germany. He said additional help will back his plan to "accelerate" the campaign against ISIS but added, "The fight is far from over.

The meeting with representatives of the largest contributors to the 65-member coalition came a day after Navy SEAL Charles Humphrey Keating IV was killed in Iraq during a major ISIS counterattack.

"His mission was to advise and assist the (Kurdish) Peshmerga," Carter said. "That was a dangerous mission that took him into combat and that's where he perished heroically."

The meeting included the defense ministers of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Spain. The Australian ambassador to Germany represented Australia.

In a joint statement, the ministers and Carter said, "We reaffirmed our strong support to further accelerate and reinforce the success of our partners on the ground and for the deployment of additional enabling capabilities in the near term.

"However, we also recognized the vast resource requirements of the stabilization effort and the considerable challenges that remain in funding those requirements," the statement added.

The ministers appeared to leave the specifics of how they would meet those resource requirements to another meeting later this year. In addition to calling on them to boost their contributions to the ISIS campaign, Carter has also been pressing the allies to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense.

Following the group meeting, Carter met separately with Danish Defense Minister Peter Christensen to thank him for Denmark's recent decision to send an F-16 fighter squadron of seven aircraft for use against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, a C-130J transport aircraft, and 400 troops to train and support front-line Iraqi forces.

Earlier this week, Norway agreed to send Norwegian special forces troops to Jordan to train vetted Syrian rebels and a medical team to Iraq.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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