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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Saudi Arabia launches counter-terrorism summit

The inaugural meeting of the IMCTC Ministers of Defence Council has the theme “Allied Against Terrorism

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is launching the summit on Sunday. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is launching the summit on Sunday. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Arabian crown prince, launches the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) summit on Sunday.

The gathering of defence ministers and leading security officials from the 41-countries in the coalition in Saudi Arabia will focus attention on counter-terrorism cooperation through the new Riyadh-based operations centre.

The inaugural meeting of the IMCTC Ministers of Defence Council has the theme “Allied Against Terrorism. Participation of ministers of defence from the coalition member countries will be supplemented by delegates from diplomatic missions and international organisations in Saudi Arabia.

The meeting marks the official launch of the IMCTC and is expected to strengthen the cooperation and integration between the member countries.

“The meeting marks the official launch of the IMCTC’s operations at our centre in Riyadh,” said Lt Gen Abdulelah Al-Saleh, the IMCTC acting secretary-general. “The centre provides an open platform for willing IMCTC member countries to exchange best practices and coordinate their counterterrorism efforts, enabling culturally appropriate regional and local solutions to counter terrorism.”

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“The biggest challenge in the 21st century, especially in the Muslim world, is confronting the dangerous phenomenon of terrorism,” said Gen Rahil Sharif, the body’s military commander. “The IMCTC encompasses an integrated approach to coordinate and unite on the four key domains of ideology, communications, counter-terrorism financing, and military, in order to fight all forms of terrorism and extremism and to effectively join other international security and peacekeeping efforts.”

The pan-Islamic coalition of 41 countries is tasked with coordination of the multitude of individual efforts to fight terrorism and extremism. A Counter Terrorism Centre has been established as its operational arm.

The agenda of the inaugural meeting focuses on how states can best adopt global best practices through specific IMCTC initiatives. It also aims to create coordinated efforts across the four IMCTC domains, ideology, communications, counter terrorist financing, and military.

A new website, www.imctc.org, has been set up as a hub for the coalition. It provides a platform for official information and data in the four areas.

The intellectual aspect seeks to preserve the universal message of Islam, promoting the values of moderation, tolerance and the preparation of targeted messages to counter radical ideology.

The media initiative involves creation of digital content to refute the rhetoric and claims of terrorist organisations and extremists.

The third aspect focuses on combatting financing of terrorism by developing new legal, regulatory and operational frameworks.

In the military sphere, the coalition will see pooling of resources and better planning. The centre will also facilitate personnel exchanges, and build capabilities of member states to fight terrorism.