Arab army chiefs-of-staff concluded on Sunday a two-day meeting in Cairo where they discussed a draft protocol for the formation of a joint-Arab force, as was decided during an Arab-League summit in March.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Arabi declared in a statement at the meeting that a consensus had been reached between all participants on the issues concerning the joint force.
He said discussions included organisational and legal aspects of establishing the force as well as its objective, mechanisms of operation, funding and procedures to request its deployment, according to AFP.Al-Arabi said the points agreed upon in the meeting reflect a significant step towards completing an Arab national security system to safeguard the region’s stability, reported Al-Arham’s Arabic news website.
The joint force was established to combat threats to the Arab region, particularly emanating from “terrorist organisations”, as stipulated in the March summit’s resolution.
Chiefs-of-staff and army officials from 20 Arab countries attended, while Algeria, who wasn’t supportive of the force in the March summit, was represented by its Arab League delegate. Syria’s seat remained empty, AFP said.
This is the second meeting between top Arab defence officials. The first meeting took place in April, also in Cairo.
Procedures for the force’s creation should be concluded before June 29, Egypt’s Chief-of-Staff Mahmoud Hegazy said in the first day of the meeting on Sunday.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi proposed the idea of a joint Arab force at the Arab Summit in March, stressing that Arab countries are facing unprecedented “threats to their stability and identity.”
Days before the March summit and the joint-forces decision, several Arab countries joined a coalition led by Saudi Arabia who launched airstrikes against positions of Houthi forces who wrested power in Yemen in September 2014. The countries in the coalition include Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan.
Al-Arabi explained that participation in the joint-force would be voluntary.