Saudi Arabia has gathered defense ministers and senior officials from 40 Muslim states at the first meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, in a move described as a "clear signal" to extremism by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who vowed to "pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth."
Addressing the summit, the Saudi crown prince said, as quoted by Reuters, "In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries," adding that "this ends today, with this alliance."
According to the prince, the states are set to "work together to support the military, financial, intelligence and political efforts of every member state."
While Qatar is also a member of the Islamic anti-terror coalition, there are no Doha officials at the summit amid a diplomatic crisis between the Arab state with some of its neighbors, primarily Saudi Arabia, which broke off ties with the country this June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.
Return to 'Moderate Islam'
The summit takes place in the wake of an announcement made by the Saudi crown prince in October: "We will return to the former state or affairs, to moderate Islam, which is open to the world, and all other religions. We will not wait for 30 years, we will swiftly deal a blow to extremist ideologies."
Earlier this year, in a benchmark decision, Saudi King Salman signed a royal decree allowing women to drive for the first time in the history of the kingdom, in a move that was later followed by a number of similar measures. In particular, Saudi Arabia has been boosting women's rights by allowing them to visit stadiums, as well as introducing a draft law criminalizing sexual harassment.