Muslim nations participating in Saudi-led alliance meet for first time in Riyadh

By
March 27, 2016 20:55

Saudi military spokesman says alliance would “dry up terrorists’ resources.”

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Military chiefs from Muslim nations that are part of the Saudi-led alliance to fight terrorism met for the first time in Riyadh on Sunday and vowed to “dry up terrorists’ resources,” said Saudi military spokesman Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Asiri.

Representatives of the 34-nation alliance d discussed “ideological, media, financial and military” aspects of countering terrorism, said Asiri, Al-Arabiya reported.

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Asiri also pointed out that 39 Muslim nations attended, with some not part of the alliance, and that it “sends a strong message.” He added that talks dealt with coordination and new initiatives.

The Islamic military alliance would not only target Islamic State, but also “other terrorist groups.”

 Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman announced in December the formation of the 34-nation Islamic military coalition with the goal of combating terrorism, a move welcomed by the United States which has been urging a greater regional involvement in the campaign against Islamic State. However, Gulf state contribution to the effort has so far been limited.

The meeting comes as sectarian tensions remain high between Sunni Arab states and the Shi’ite led Iranian alliance which includes Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis, and the Syrian regime.

Egypt’s military chief Mahmoud Hegazy left of Saudi Arabia on Saturday for a two day visit to attend the conference of the alliance, the military spokesperson said in a statement, Ahram Online reported.

"The conference will tackle many issues related to military and security cooperation between Islamic countries, such as the international war on terror," the statement read.

Saudi Arabia's military exercise known as 'North Thunder,’ which concluded earlier this month  commenced on February 14 with the participation of various military forces including artillery, tanks, infantry, air defense and naval forces from 21 Arab and Islamic countries.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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