A meeting of the defense ministers of a Saudi-led anti-terrorism alliance of Muslim countries kicked off in Saudi capital Riyadh on Sunday.
Held under the theme “Allied Against Terrorism”, the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) meeting was opened by Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohamed bin Salman.
Addressing the meeting, bin Salman said Muslim countries lacked coordination on fighting terrorist organizations over past years.
“This lack of coordination is now over by forming this coalition,” he said. “More than 40 countries send a strong message that they will work together and coordinate vigorously with a view to enhancing their [anti-terrorism] efforts.”
He vowed to stop terrorist groups from distorting the true image of Islam and its values.
“We will not allow [terrorist groups] to continue their effort to tarnish the peaceful Islamic region and terrorize innocents in Islamic countries,” he said.
The Saudi Crown Prince offered condolences to Egypt over a deadly mosque attack in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday, in which 305 people were killed and scores injured.
Sunday’s meeting is expected to discuss means of fighting terrorism and drying up its finances.
Qatar was not invited to the meeting
In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, a claim vehemently denied by the Gulf state.
The 40-member anti-terrorism coalition was launched by Saudi Arabia in late 2015 with a view to fighting terrorism. It includes countries as Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Egypt.
A declaration issued by a recent Arab-U.S.-Islamic summit in Riyadh in May unveiled that the alliance member states were ready to deploy 34,000 troops with a view to supporting operations against terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.