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UK, US leaders in joint Time of London editorial: We will not be 'cowed' by extremists



BY ALAN SCHER ZAGIER

NEWPORT, Wales (AP) -- NATO leaders grappled Thursday with whether the alliance has a role in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East, as heads of state converged in Wales for a high-stakes summit also focused on the crisis in Ukraine and next steps in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron declared that their nations would "not be cowed" by extremists from the Islamic State group who have claimed responsibility for killing two American journalists. They also challenged NATO to not turn inward in the face of the threat.

"Those who want to adopt an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century," Obama and Cameron wrote in a joint editorial in the Times of London. "Developments in other parts of the world, particularly in Iraq and Syria, threaten our security at home."

Obama, Cameron and dozens of other NATO leaders met on a golf resort in Wales for the two-day summit. Leaders here also planned to commit to a more robust rapid response force on its eastern flank, which would aim to serve as a deterrent to Russian aggression.

Yet much of the action was to take place on the sidelines of the summit, where the American and British leaders were expected to drum up support for an international response to confronting the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Arriving at the summit site on Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he believes the broader international community "has an obligation to stop the Islamic State from advancing further," but noted that the alliance hasn't received any request for help.

"I'm sure that if the Iraqi government were to forward a request for NATO assistance, that would be considered seriously by NATO allies," Rasmussen said.

The militants have claimed responsibility for murdering two American journalists, releasing gruesome videos of their beheadings. Both the U.S. and Britain are deeply concerned about the potential threat to their homelands that could come from the foreign fighters who have joined the violent Islamic State group.

Cameron on Monday proposed new laws that would give police the power to seize the passports of Britons suspected of having traveled abroad to fight with terrorist groups.

The U.S. began launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq last month, and both the U.S. and Britain have been making humanitarian aid drops to besieged minority groups there. Cameron said that he hadn't ruled out joining the U.S. in airstrikes, but added that the priority was to support those already fighting the militants on the ground.

"We need to show real resolve and determination, we need to use every power and everything in our armory with our allies - with those on the ground - to make sure we do everything we can to squeeze this dreadful organization out of existence," Cameron told the British network ITV.

Also facing Obama is a decision about whether to expand U.S. military action against the extremists to Syria. While Obama has said he's considering that step, he has suggested in recent days that it's not imminent.

U.S. officials say Obama is reluctant to delve into Syria's quagmire on his own. He's expected to use some of his discussions in Wales to try to build a coalition that could join him in confronting the Islamic State through a combination of military might, diplomatic pressure and economic penalties.

Obama and Cameron visited a local school Thursday morning, where they greeted students learning about NATO before sitting down for a private meeting. Later, the two met with their counterparts from France, Germany and Italy to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. In a show of Western solidarity, new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also joined the discussion.

Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a standoff for months, with pro-Moscow forces stirring instability in eastern Ukrainian cities. On the eve of the NATO summit, Russia and Ukraine said they were working on a deal to halt the fighting, but Western leaders expressed skepticism - noting it wasn't the first attempt to end the deadly conflict.

A centerpiece of the NATO summit was to be the announcement of the rapid response force. Officials said the alliance could position at least 4,000 forces and military equipment in the Baltics and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

"We must use our military to ensure a persistent presence in Eastern Europe, making clear to Russia that we will always uphold our Article 5 commitments to collective self-defense," Obama and Cameron wrote.

Under Article 5 of the NATO charter, an attack on one member state is viewed on an attack on the whole alliance. Obama reiterated his support for that principle Wednesday during a visit to Estonia, one of the newer NATO members set on edge by Russia's provocations.

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Associated Press writers John-Thor Dahlburg in Wales and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.

---

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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Join the discussion

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MIKEY'S SCREEN September 04 2014 at 5:14 AM

Dear Barry,

Please repeat after me......

"I will call all Muslim Extremist, especially ISIS, a terrorist organization that needs to be completely and totally wiped out."

"I will implement basically the same immigration procedures that the United Kingdom has just implemented."

I will send troops to the Southern Border to enhance the current Border Patrol in stopping illegal immigrants from INVADING the U.S."

"I will support the majority in Congress to declare WAR againt ISIS and this will be our number 1 priority."

"I will stop acting like an indecisive leader and let the Joint Chiefs of Staff run the military the way it should be ran to include bolstering the current troop level and equipment."

THIS IS WHAT A LEADER DOES TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS OF AMERICA IN A TIME OF CRISIS!

LEARN FROM IT!

Flag Reply +99 rate up
32 replies
torp8r September 04 2014 at 5:30 AM

U have to feel sorry for Cameron. To look over at the guy that's supposed to have ur back and to see Obama there. What an empty feeling that's got to be.

Flag Reply +91 rate up
17 replies
arianna.thegreeko September 04 2014 at 6:21 AM

We have a very weak president with very weak people advising him. Look at his national security team headed by Susan Rice? Then his foreign policy team headed by Clueless Kerry? No one in the world respects this weak team and especially its anti-leader!

Flag Reply +67 rate up
11 replies
petestrainmail September 04 2014 at 5:02 AM

barry still looks like a follower. Not an oriinal thought in his brain.

Flag Reply +55 rate up
11 replies
Joan September 04 2014 at 6:07 AM

"World leaders gathered at a golf resort in Wales". No wonder Obama attended this particular summit. His sincerity to protect our beloved country is always in question. Golf? Never.

Flag Reply +45 rate up
6 replies
coopdabomb September 04 2014 at 5:49 AM

Just more talk from our commander in wuss

Flag Reply +41 rate up
5 replies
amerigom September 04 2014 at 5:35 AM

Same old; Same old!
Just lots of pictures and waving!

Flag Reply +35 rate up
4 replies
caprice420 September 04 2014 at 8:01 AM

Obama - What a total embarrassment!!!

Flag Reply +29 rate up
4 replies
Bill September 04 2014 at 5:44 AM

Don't you just love that pic? Its almost like he is thinking "Don't you talk about my people that way or we will get you too". And, aren't they lying? They have repeatedly been cowed by these members of the Obama family already.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
6 replies
drumzz1001 September 04 2014 at 5:36 AM

Actually both are full of it.They've both let millions of Arab Muslims into the U.K and the U.S.Want to REALLY stop the terrorists? Get the MUSLIMS out NOW!!!!!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
Donna drumzz1001 September 04 2014 at 6:44 AM

That's like saying you can't let the Catholics or Protestants in. There are bad apples in every religion. Timothy McVeigh was an altar boy. Look how well that went.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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