Arab leaders hold summit in Egypt on joint military force

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 30, 2015

Arab leaders have agreed to form a joint military force, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on Sunday at a summit overshadowed by a Saudi-led offensive on Shi’ite rebels in Yemen.

Arab representatives would meet over the next month to study the creation of the force, according to the resolution adopted by the leaders on the last day of the weekend meeting in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” Sisi said.

The decision was mostly aimed at fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said ahead of the summit.

On Sunday, Arabi told the meeting that the region was threatened by a “destructive” force that threatened “ethnic and religious diversity”, in an apparent reference to the Islamic State group jihadists.

“What is important is that today there is an important decision, in light of the tumult afflicting the Arab world,” he said.

Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Huthi rebels in Yemen.

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