'Urgent need' for unified anti-jihadist force: Arab League

Nabil al-Arabi (left), pictured in Cairo on March 9, 2015, has called for the creation of a unified Arab force to battle the spread of Islamic extremist groupsArab League chief Nabil al-Arabi called on Monday for the creation of a unified Arab force to battle the spread of Islamic extremist groups. “There is an urgent need for the creation of a multi-purpose common Arab military force… able to intervene rapidly to fight terrorism and the activities of terrorist groups,” Arabi told a meeting of league foreign ministers in Cairo. Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Helli told reporters last week that the bloc’s leaders are expected to focus on the creation of such a common force when they meet for its annual summit on March 28-29 in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has also called for such a force, saying it is needed to confront security threats in a region where the jihadist Islamic State group holds swathes of Syria and Iraq and has gained a foothold in Egypt’s neighbour Libya.

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