Washington: US President Donald Trump held the first meeting of his full Cabinet on Monday, vowing to take the fight against terrorism to the very end and said “we are going to starve the beast” by stopping its funding.
“One of the big things that we did – and you’re seeing it now with Qatar and all of the things that are actually going on in a very positive fashion – we are stopping the funding of terrorism,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“They are going to stop the funding of terrorism. It’s not an easy fight, but that’s a fight we’re going to win. You have to starve the beast. And we’re going to starve the beast, believe me,” Trump said, without naming the countries which would stop the funding.
“We’ve had tremendous success against ISIS in our fight in the Middle East, where we’re doing very, very well.”
Trump recently returned from his first trip overseas, during which he visited Saudi Arabia where he sealed economic and military deals for the US worth US $350 billion. Besides Riyadh he also visited Israel, Vatican, Belgium and Italy.
He said the deals he signed in Saudi Arabia will bring “many thousands of jobs” to the US and help Riyadh take a greater role in providing stability and security in that region.
In Saudi Arabia, Trump had singled out Iran, blasting its alleged support to terrorist groups. Soon after his visit, the Saudi Arabia-led consortium of Sunni Gulf states last week suspended all ties to Qatar over what they say is the state’s support for extremist groups and its proximity to Shia Iran.
Qatar has denied all the allegations.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US is engaged with its allies to ensure that they know where their common interest lay and what the expectations are.
“They must do more. They must meet their obligations, both in the national security point, but also for greater stability and prosperity,” he said.
“And to our adversaries, we are engaging and will engage from the position of strength to protect America’s national interest and we expect to make progress in resolving some of the differences,” Tillerson said.
Giving her brief summer report, Indian-American Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said it is a “new day” at the UN.
“We now have a very strong voice. People know what the US (stands) for. They know what we are against,” she said.
Energy secretary Rick Perry told his Cabinet colleagues he attended the gathering of energy ministers from around the world in Beijing last week.
“They needed to hear why America is stepping away from the Paris Accord. (And) they did … We are still the leaders in the world in terms of climate, but we are not going to be held hostage through some executive order that we all thought out,” Perry said.
US defence secretary James Mattis said he was grateful for the sacrifice “our people are making to strengthen the military and for the diplomats to negotiate from the position of strength.”
The Director of National Intelligence Dave Coats said the intelligence community has never faced diversity of threat to the country in their lifetimes.