Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 22 May 2017 08:42 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

US signs agreement with Gulf leaders to tackle terrorism funding

'Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre' will be co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council

US signs agreement with Gulf leaders to tackle terrorism funding
US President Donald Trump (C) and Saudis King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C-R) pose for a picture with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump held talks on Sunday with leaders of the GCC, after which he announced the signing of an agreement to prevent the financing of terrorism.

In his speech, President Trump said the 'Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre' will be co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

"A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship! Drive them out of your communities!" Trump said.

The meeting with Gulf leaders a day after Washington told their arch rival Iran to dismantle its "network of terrorism".

The centre, which will employ over 350 Saudis, aims to prevent the spread of extremist ideas by promoting tolerance, empathy and supporting positive dialogue.

The centre will also monitor the activities of the terrorist organisations and groups on the Internet, using innovative software capable of monitoring and analysing any extremist thought in all languages and dialects.

 “It’s the farthest reaching commitment to not finance terrorist organisations,” US Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell said on Sunday.

"The unique piece of it is that every single one of them are signatories on how they're responsible and will actually prosecute the financing of terrorism, including individuals."

The meeting with GCC leaders on the second day of Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, part of his first foreign tour since taking office, came hours before the US president is scheduled to address an Arab Islamic American Summit.

Most GCC monarchies accuse Tehran of meddling in their internal affairs and want Washington to be tougher with Iran, which secured a landmark nuclear deal with world powers when Trump's predecessor Barack Obama was in office.

They consider Tehran to be a destabilising factor in the region.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday demonstrated a tougher position on Tehran, saying multi-billion-dollar defence deals signed with Riyadh aim to protect Saudi Arabia from a "malign Iranian influence."

In a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, Tillerson urged newly re-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to dismantle his country's "network of terrorism" and end "ballistic missile testing."

Trump, accused of using anti-Muslim rhetoric on the election campaign trail, is later expected to tell Muslim leaders of his "hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam."

*With AFP