Grouping of 35 countries’ first public announced meeting will occur in March.
A new Saudi-led coalition to fight terrorism in Islamic countries will gather in the kingdom next month for it’s first publicly announced meeting, a Saudi source said on Thursday.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defense minister, announced the new coalition in December. A Western diplomat said at the time that details of how the grouping would work remained unclear and “they don’t have the infrastructure” yet to run such a coalition.
“This is official now, that they will meet end of March,” the Saudi source said, without giving a date. The source added that the coalition now has 35 members, up from the 34 announced initially.
Member countries named previously by the Saudis range from the tiny African nation of the Comoros to major regional powers like Turkey. Saudi Arabia said the alliance would share intelligence, combat violent ideology and deploy troops if necessary.
The kingdom is a member of the U.S.-led coalition that has been bombing the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria for more than 18 months. On Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country was ready to deploy Special Forces to Syria if the coalition decides to begin a ground operation.