RIYADH, Dec 15 – Saudi Arabia has formed a coalition of 34 countries to fight terrorism including powerful Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey but excluding Iran, the SPA state news agency announced Tuesday.
The Saudi-led alliance will be based in Riyadh “to coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism”, the agency said, and comprises Middle Eastern, African and Asian states.
The coalition will tackle “the Islamic world’s problem with terrorism and will be a partner in the worldwide fight against this scourge” said Saudi defence minister and crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud at a press conference in Riyadh.
Arrangements would be made for “coordination with friendly peace-loving nations and international bodies for the sake of supporting international efforts to combat terrorism and to save international peace and security”, SPA added.
More than 10 other “Islamic countries” had expressed support for the coalition, including Indonesia, it said.
The United States has called for broader international participation in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, saying Turkey needed to do more to control its borders with Syria, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states had been distracted by the conflict in Yemen.