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Obama: we will destroy Islamic State (Update 2: adds UNSG, Medvedev)

U.S. President Barack Obama attends the 10th East Asia Summit at the 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Kuala Lumpur

U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday said the United States and its allies would not relent in its fight to combat Islamic State extremists and would hunt down their leaders and cut off the group’s financing.

“Destroying (Islamic State) is not only a realistic goal, were going to get it done,” he told a news conference after a meeting of Asian leaders in Malaysia.

“We will destroy them. We will take back land they are currently in, take out their financing, hunt down leadership, dismantle their networks, supply lines and we will destroy them.”

Obama said it “would be helpful” if Russia directed its focus on tackling Islamic State and he hoped Moscow would agree to a leadership transition in Syria that meant its president stepping down.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, also in Kuala Lumpar, said he had urged Russia and the United States to cooperate on rooting out terrorism.

“All these terrorists and ideology extremists should be defeated in the name of humanity,” he said at the annual East Asia Summit.

“In that regard, we need to unite. We need to show global solidarity to address the common enemy of ISIL, Daesh, some other extremists and terrorist groups,” he said, referring to Islamic State.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he wanted global cooperation to combat terrorism after Islamist militants killed 19 people, including six Russians, in an attack on a luxury hotel in Mali.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said countries with large populations of Muslims, including Russia, should unite to fight against Islamic State.

“We need a consolidated anti-terrorist position of those countries that have a large Islamic community, and incidentally Russia is one of these countries,” Medvedev said at the Kuala Lumpar summit.

Medvedev said “it is now clear we can only fight this threat by bringing our forces together and by working through such international institutions as the United Nations”.

Ban said he “highly commended the leadership of the Russian Federation together with the United States to address some of the roots causes of terrorism”.

He said the United Nations is now gathering ideas and experience from its member states. “Early next year, the U.N. is going to present a comprehensive plan of action to defeat violence and extremism.”

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