DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, has called for a “unified effort” to root out radical militancy in regional hotspots including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan.
In a statement issued on the eve of a Sept. 4-5 NATO summit in Wales which the UAE will attend as an observer, the foreign ministry said the Gulf Arab oil and business hub wanted cooperation and coordination against what it called the global scourge of terrorism, especially in Iraq and Syria.
“An international undertaking ought to apply to other regional countries as well, including Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Afghanistan, who also suffer from the radical ideology and incitement to violence emanating from ISIL and Al Qaeda,” said the statement, issued late on Wednesday.
It did not specify the kind of action that could be taken but said a clear strategy was necessary.
“It is important that this strategy does not stop with Iraq and Syria, but seeks to tackle the phenomenon of terrorism wherever it arises. Only through such a unified effort will it be possible to combat terrorist groups and put a stop to their violence,” it said.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has said it is seeking to build an international campaign against Islamic State jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria, including recruiting partners for potential joint military action.
U.S. officials said last month that UAE warplanes carried out air raids on Islamic factions in Libya which if true would be an unusual escalation of outside Arab involvement in the north African country’s turmoil.
There has been no formal UAE reaction to the allegations, but Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash suggested on Twitter similar accusations by Libyans had been promoted by anti-UAE Islamists.
Arab governments see the recent success of the ultra-hardline militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a threat to their stability and security.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are also sworn enemies of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest and most organized Islamist movement which says it opposes violence and has a following in many Muslim countries.
Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall