By Justin Sink - 08/19/14 11:15 AM EDT
President Obama plans to personally lead a meeting of the United Nations Security Council next month in New York, an administration official said Tuesday.
The session, slated for the week of Sept. 22, will focus on "the acute threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters" and comes as the U.S. is grappling with resurgent Islamist militants who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria.
The meeting is the first head-of-state-level Security Council summit since 2009, when the president convened a discussion on nuclear non-proliferation. According to ThinkProgress, which first reported the president's participation, that is the only other occasion on which a U.S. president chaired a meeting of the Security Council.
On Monday, Obama discussed U.S. military efforts against the Sunni militants operating in Iraq, hailing a successful campaign coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces to retake the Mosul Dam as "a major step forward."
"The Mosul Dam fell under terrorist control earlier this month, and is directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq," Obama said. "If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would've threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endanger our embassy compound in Baghdad."
The president has also asked Congress to approve a $5 billion counterterrorism operations fund to help train and equip allied governments to fight terror groups within their regions.
Obama has said the fund could help train and equip resistance fighters in Syria, and administration officials have suggested the money could also be used for projects elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.