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Arab foreign ministers discuss new counter-terrorism cooperation

Egypt is putting forward a new initiative based on a 1998 Arab agreement on fighting terrorism

Ahram Online, Monday 10 Mar 2014
Badr Abdel-Ati, a ministerial spokesman (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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A group of foreign ministers from different Arab countries met in Cairo this week to discuss a new initiative to combat terrorism.

At a press conference held on Sunday, foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati explained that the initiative put forward by Egypt's foreign minister Nabil Fahmy was based on the 1998 Arab agreement on fighting terrorism.

The initiative would entail that governments agree not to host terrorists in their countries, not to fund them, and to return them to their countries of origin for trial.

At the meeting, Egypt also suggested that Arab interior ministers meet as well, as they would be the ones to apply the agreement.

"Applying this initiative has become a necessity and no country which signed the [1998] agreement has a right to not abide by it," said Abdel-Ati.

Last Thursday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain issued a joint statement withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar, accusing it of failing to abide by a 2013 Gulf Cooperation Council agreement regarding maintaining security.

The statement additionally cited Qatar's support for "antagonistic media", referring to the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera satellite channel. The channel has been accused of providing biased coverage in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in December. Saudi Arabia followed suit last week.

Egypt has witnessed escalating militant attacks since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, last July.

While attacks mostly target security forces, an explosion on a tourist bus in South Sinai in February killed four tourists.

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