RIYADH, March 27, (Agencies): Military chiefs from 39 countries met Sunday in Riyadh for talks on a Saudiinitiated international “anti-terrorism” coalition.
Saudi Arabia announced the creation of the coalition in December, saying its members would share intelligence, counter violent ideology and deploy troops if necessary to combat extremists.
“This coalition comes to complement previous efforts exerted” in the fi ght against “terrorist” groups, Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told reporters following the talks. “We are at the stage of laying the foundations.We have not discussed specific details,” he said. Several members of the group, including Saudi Arabia, are part of the US-led coalition bombing the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Saudi Arabia is also leading a mainly Gulf Arab coalition that launched a military intervention against Iran-backed rebels last year in Yemen.
Assiri said that Riyadh has offered premises and funds for a coordination centre for the new grouping. He said the coalition would operate within the limits of “UN resolutions and recognised conventions.” He said the meeting of military chiefs paved the way for a meeting of defence ministers in the “near future”.
Member countries named previously by the Saudis range from the tiny African nation of the Comoros to major regional powers like Turkey. Saudi Chief of General Staff Gen Abdul Rahman Al-Bunian said that the objectives of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) mirrors international laws and accords. Al-Bunian made this remark to the press, on Sunday.
He said drawing up a unified data based on world terrorist organizations would help combat terrorism everywhere, which is “the essence of the IMAFT’s objective.” Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Saturday that the meeting is expected to deal with coordinating efforts and working out military, intellectual, financial and media strategies to eradicate the scourge of terrorism.
It noted that Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz announced last December the creation of the alliance to fight terrorism. The Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) is an intergovernmental military alliance of 39 countries in the Muslim world united around military intervention against the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other counter-terrorist activities.