Saudi-led alliance chiefs of staff agree to coordinate efforts

Monday 28-03-2016 02:53 PM

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz on May 2, 2015. Presidency Handout

CAIRO, Mar 28 (Aswat Masriya) – Chiefs of staff of the Saudi-led Islamic military alliance agreed on Sunday, during a meeting held in Riyadh, on the importance of coordinating strategic efforts aimed at combating "terrorism" and its funding, according to state-run newspaper al-Ahram.

Citing Ahmed Asiri, the advisor to the Saudi Defence Minister, al-Ahram said on Monday that chiefs of staff agreed to establish a centre to coordinate the alliance's operations to track the sources of funding of "terrorist" organisations.

Asiri said the meeting paves the way for a defence ministers' meeting soon.

Sunday's meeting marked the first for the alliance's chiefs of staff.

Egypt's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy had set off on Saturday for a two-day visit to the Saudi capital, where the coalition is based, to attend the meeting.

The Saudi-led alliance was established last December and it comprises 34 countries, including Egypt. 

One day after the alliance was formed, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ordered the increase of Saudi investments in Egypt to above 30 billion Saudi riyals ($8 billion) and pledged to contribute to providing Egypt with petroleum needs for the next five years.

Egypt has enjoyed the support of Saudi Arabia, as well as of Gulf neighbours Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, since the military ouster of then-President Mohammed Mursi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia pledged $4 billion in investments in and assistance for Egypt.

The launching of the alliance came at turbulent times for the region where insurgency hiked and Islamist militant groups seized large areas of land particularly in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

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