The defence ministers of the 41-nation Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism will meet in Riyadh on Nov. 26. With around one-third of the Arab world currently embroiled in conflict caused mainly by terror groups, the meeting is a significant step in the countries’ cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism in the Islamic world.
“The meeting of the defence ministers aims to strengthen cooperation and integration between the Islamic Military Alliance members,” said a report published by Saudi Press Agency. The meeting will also be attended by ambassadors and senior diplomats representing their countries in Saudi Arabia, alongside top Saudi and IMAFT officials.
The meeting will discuss a host of subjects including ways to establish the IMAFT as a major bloc to address security challenges and terrorism issues. The defence ministers will formally discuss plans and proposals to unify the efforts of the Islamic alliance and promote coordination with other international agencies. At least two embassies of the IMAFT member states confirmed the meeting will take on Saturday, but refused to share more details.
The SPA report said that the meeting would mark the “real beginning” of the military alliance. A declaration issued by the Arab-US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh in May this year announced that the alliance member-states were ready to deploy 34,000 troops with a view to supporting operations against terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
The IMAFT, which has set up a joint operations centre in Riyadh, was established to serve as a platform for security cooperation, including the provision of training, equipment and troops, and the involvement of religious scholars to offer advice on how to deal with extremism. On January 6, Pakistan’s former chief of army staff, Gen. (Retd) Raheel Sharif was named as the IMA’s first commander-in-chief.—Agencies