Progress to make the world safer is taking place despite the reality of atrocities, John F. Kerry, US Secretary of State, told world leaders gathered in Davos for the 46th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
“We are staring at extraordinary opportunities wherever we look in the world,” Kerry said.
Kerry cited the recent nuclear agreement with an Iran as an example of progress. Two years ago, Iran had the capability to build a nuclear weapon within two months, and many world leaders were urging the US to take military action.
“We were on the cusp of confrontation, believe me,” Kerry said. “In all likelihood, without diplomacy, it would have ended in war,” he said.
Today, thanks to the diplomatic agreement with aggressive on-the-ground monitoring, “every single one of Iran’s pathways to a bomb has been blocked,” the Secretary said. “The region is safer. The world is safer.”
Kerry reaffirmed that the fight against violent extremism is “the challenge of our generation” and said it would be a long struggle, but he promised that “we are heading in the right direction.”
The Secretary noted that a coalition of countries has come together to fight Da’esh (ISIS) and praised the military successes achieved by the joint action of coalition air power and local ground forces.
“In the end, mark my words, Da’esh will be defeated, and the progress we have made towards that goal has been remarkable,” Kerry said. Da’esh has already lost over 30% of the territory it once held and much of its financing, he underlined.
Key steps have been taken to resolve the conflict in Syria. All of the involved countries have agreed on a list of principles for a post-war Syria. Direct negotiations between the government and the opposition are now planned and will hopefully start soon in Geneva. “Nothing would do more to end the threat of Da’esh than to negotiate an end to the war in Syria,” Kerry said.
Kerry also praised the many efforts of citizens around the world to increase interfaith and inter-sectarian understanding. He cited examples of Sunnis helping Shi’ites rebuild after terror attacks in the Middle East, Muslims shielding Christians from terrorists in Africa, and Jews protecting Muslims in the United Kingdom.
“The world is not witnessing global gridlock. We are not frozen in an nightmare we cannot wake up from,” Kerry said. “If we stay serious and work in good faith, then we can make progress.”