Trump admin targets violent Islamist groups as top foreign policy priority

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The Trump administration will make defeating "radical Islamic terror groups" its top foreign policy goal, according to a statement posted on the White House website moments after Donald Trump's inauguration as U.S. president.

Trump, a Republican, used his inaugural address on Friday to promise to "unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth."

In the statement, titled "America First Foreign Policy," the Trump administration said, "Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority." ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

In order to "defeat and destroy" Islamic State and similar groups, the new administration said it "will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary," work to cut off funding for terrorist groups, expand intelligence sharing, and use "cyberwarfare" to disrupt propaganda and recruitment efforts.

The statement offered no indication of how Trump's policies might differ from those of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama.

The White House statement also appeared to nod at better relations with Russia, something that Trump has said he would pursue. "We are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies," the statement said.

Trump has rejected criticism that he is too eager to make an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The statement vowed to "rebuild" the American military, including enlarging the Navy and the Air Force, a frequent theme during Trump's campaign.

The statement repeated Trump's campaign vow to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Asian free-trade pact that Obama championed but was unable to get through Congress. Trump has said, without elaboration, that international trade deals have hurt American workers.

"President Trump will ensure that on his watch, trade policies will be implemented by and for the people, and will put America first," the statement said.

In a separate statement on the White House website, the Trump administration said it intends to develop a "state of the art" missile defense system to protect against attacks from Iran and North Korea. It did not say whether the system would differ from those already under development, specify the cost or say how it would be financed.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by John Walcott and Leslie Adler

17 PHOTOS
Children return to school in former ISIS prison
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Children return to school in former ISIS prison
Students are seen leaving, after class, the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Schoolchildren sit on mats as they attend a class in 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Students salvage books and items inside a classroom in 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 17, 2017. Picture taken January 17, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A student poses as she holds a Unicef-donated school bag in 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 17, 2017. Islamic State militants covered the UNICEF logo featured on the bag with the slogan "Flower of the Caliphate" when they were in control of al-Rai town. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A teacher writes on a broken whiteboard during a class at the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 17, 2017. Picture taken January 17, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Students attend a class at the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A student carries belongings in a plastic bag as he arrives to attend a class at the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A student writes on a broken whiteboard during a class at the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Students sit on damaged desks at the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 17, 2017. Picture taken January 17, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Students gesture as they stand in line at the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A student carries a Unicef-donated school bag in 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 17, 2017. Islamic State militants covered the UNICEF logo featured on the bags with the slogan "Cubs of the Caliphate" when they were in control of al-Rai town. Picture taken January 17, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Students play at the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Students stand amid damaged desks and books in 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 17, 2017. Picture taken January 17, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A damaged laboratory model of a human head is seen inside the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 17, 2017. Picture taken January 17, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A classroom used as a prison by Islamic State militants is pictured inside the 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from them, Syria January 17, 2017. Picture taken January 17, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Students' shoes are seen on a broken window in 'Aisha Mother of the Believers�school which was recently reopened after rebels took control of al-Rai town from Islamic State militants, Syria January 16, 2017. Picture taken January 16, 2017. To match story MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-SCHOOL. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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