Saudi Arabia to host Arab meeting on Syria, IS crisis

Syrian government troops sit atop a tank as they drive past a damaged building in Mleiha on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on August 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Louai Beshara)

Cairo (AFP) - Saudi Arabia is to host a meeting of foreign ministers from several Arab states to discuss the Syrian conflict and the rise of Islamic State jihadists, Egypt's foreign ministry announced Saturday.

It said Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were to take part in Sunday's talks to be held in the kingdom's Red Sea city of Jeddah.

The meeting will address "the growing presence in Iraq and Syria of extremists, notably the Islamic State (IS)," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that the rise of IS meant the "search for a political solution to the Syria crisis was needed more than ever".

Since declaring a "caliphate" in June, IS has conducted a lightning offensive, taking control of territory straddling Iraq and Syria.

The jihadists sparked worldwide horror and condemnation this week when they released a video showing the beheading of US journalist James Foley.

Saudi foreign ministry spokesman Osama Nugali told AFP that a "meeting between some Arab states will be held tomorrow (Sunday) to discuss some Arab issues," without elaborating.

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