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Saudi Arabia to host counter terrorism meeting

The kingdom will host GCC member state representatives as well as Egypt, Jordan, the US and Turkey on Thursday
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (R) and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah (AFP).

Saudi Arabia will host a regional conference in two days devoted to "terrorism in the region," which will be attended by US and Turkish representatives, Saudi's official SPA news agency reported Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Gulf powerhouse will host representatives of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Egypt, Jordan, the US and Turkey, according to the news agency.

The conference, which will be held in Saudi's western Jeddah province, will tackle ongoing counter terrorism efforts aimed at fighting "the extremist organisations that stand behind terrorism in the region," the news agency said.

The meeting will coincide with a Middle East tour by US. Secretary of State John Kerry, which will include Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Kerry will use the tour to promote proposals for an international coalition to combat the self-styled Islamic State militant group.

The group recently took over large swathes of Iraq and Syria, raising alarm bells in Middle Eastern and Western capitals.

The US has conducted scores of airstrikes across Iraq against Islamic State targets since US. President Barack Obama authorised the military to carry out an air campaign in early August.

Last month, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz warned that the Islamic State would "spread into Europe and the US" in the absence of an effective international response to the group's current activity in the Middle East region.

In March, Saudi Arabia designated the Islamic State a "terrorist organisation," along with a handful of other militant groups.

The designation came amid tensions between Riyadh and the formerly Shiite-dominated Baghdad government led by Nouri al-Maliki after the latter accused the oil-rich kingdom – and key US ally – of "sponsoring terrorism" in Iraq, which shares a border with Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh in turn accused al-Maliki's government of being responsible for Iraq's insurgency, which is being led by the Islamic State, a Sunni militant group with alleged links to Al-Qaeda.