Army chiefs of ‘anti-terror’ coalition meet in Saudi Arabia


RIYADH: Military chiefs and senior officials from 39 countries met Sunday in Riyadh for talks on a Saudi-initiated 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 fight against “terrorist” groups, Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told reporters after 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 militant Islamic State group (IS) 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 officials 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.

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