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  Middle East & Africa
OIC Ministers Meet on Gaza Crisis in Jeddah

Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey . file photo. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
The expanded meeting of the executive committee at the level of foreign ministers of the member states in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) started in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Jan. 3, 2009 to examine the Israeli aggression against the Gaza strip.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash is participating in the meeting.

In his opening speech, Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as well as for the opening of lifelines leading to the strip to allow medicines and humanitarian supplies to reach there.

'We meet today at a time when the Israeli aggression is escalating against the Gaza Strip, violating all sanctities and reaching extremely serious levels. This aggression has killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including children, women and elderly people; injured thousands of people and caused colossal damage and destruction, in addition to a serious exacerbation of the humanitarian conditions due to the intensity of the aggressions and the difficulty of access of relief materials', said Ihsanoglu.

Hardly finding words to describe this ongoing tragedy in the Gaza Strip, Ihsanoglu said that 'without any doubt a violation of all human values and a blatant infringement on human life and the right to life guaranteed by all laws."

'We cannot stand idle in the face of these unprecedented atrocities in modern history. That is why we are meeting today to decide on what we should do as a concrete action against this unjust aggression', he said addressing the ministers.

He added that this tragedy necessitates a diligent, serious and effective Islamic action in order to put an end to it and rescue the Palestinian people from its impact.

'We must make every effort to stop the bloodshed of the defenceless Palestinian people whose rights have been usurped and who have been thrown out in every part of the world and denied their freedom and their fundamental rights', Ihsanoglu said.

He stressed that the political leaderships both in Palestine and the Islamic world have a historic responsibility in this critical moment.

'The peoples of the Islamic world expect from us all unequivocal positions incarnating the will of the Muslim Ummah and its solidarity with the people of Palestine in this ordeal, as well as an action that goes beyond words to a real action rising up to the wisdom and serenity required by the current situation' he said.

Ihsanoglu also stressed that the Islamic world is expecting from its leaders and from all those in positions of political responsibility to do whatever they can to end this hardship which Palestine has been facing for the past sixty years and which has exacerbated and reached unprecedented dimensions with the recent developments in the Gaza Strip.

'As soon as this aggression started against Gaza, the Organization condemned the Israeli crimes and launched an appeal to the international community and its institutions to intervene immediately and effectively to stop this aggression and protect the Palestinian people from its atrocities. I have also made consultations with a number of Member States' leaders and officials with the objective of coordinating an Islamic move to protect the Palestinian people from this ruthless aggression and secure their urgent needs', said Ihsanoglu.

'In the same vein, I directed the Permanent Representative of the OIC in Geneva to carry out the necessary consultations with the OIC Group to consider the possibility of holding an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council in order to make decisions and take measures to stop the aggression and protect the Palestinian people against the Israeli aggressions', he noted.

Ihsanoglu disclosed that the Islamic Republic of Iran has requested an emergency meeting at the Summit level or, if not possible, at the level of Foreign Ministers

Ihsanoglu continued: 'In these critical moments of the Palestinian cause, we appeal to all the parties concerned, in Palestine and beyond, to put aside the political calculations and act toward stemming the bloodshed and enabling the population of the Gaza Strip to maintain the little living condition, harsh as it may be. Therefore, we call strongly for an immediate cease-fire and for the medical and humanitarian supplies to enter the Gaza Strip from all crossing-points."

In this regard, Ihsanoglu reminded the member states that Executive Committee, in its expanded extraordinary meeting held at the General Secretariat headquarters in Jeddah on 27 Shawwal 1427H (18/11/2006) had taken a decision calling upon States to break the embargo imposed on the Palestinian people and to act with the international community to end the embargo imposed on the Palestinian people.

'The Executive Committee also held an expended extraordinary meeting of at the level of Foreign Ministers in Jeddah on 25 Muharram 1429H (3 February 2008), and took a decision welcoming the initiative launched by the OIC Secretary-General to drum up support to secure the necessary humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip', he reminded.

He asked the member states to implement these decisions and take new decisions and measures required by the current situation to stop this unprecedented human tragedy.

He also called upon the Organization's States Members of the UN Security Council (Turkey, the Libyan Jamahiriya, Uganda and Burkina Faso) to make every sincere effort in order to get the Security Council to adopt an urgent and binding resolution with the aim of putting an end to the Israeli aggression and enforcing an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.

'And if the Security Council fails to assume its responsibilities, we call upon all Member States of our Organization to unite in support of convening a meeting of the UN General Assembly within the framework of 'Unity for Peace' in cooperation with the other States Members of the United Nations, Ihsanoglu said.

He continued: 'In the face of the sheer scale of the humanitarian tragedy which has reached the limits of a disaster suffered by the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, I call upon this meeting -and this is the least we can do - to conduct an urgent and integrated humanitarian action under the umbrella of the OIC in order to secure all forms of urgent humanitarian needs of the victims of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip'.

Ihsanoglu reiterated the importance of the Palestinian unity to face the atrocities perpetrated by Israel.

'The Palestinian national unity constitutes an impenetrable fortress against enemies of the Palestinian people and its just cause. Thus, Palestinian unity must be a top priority for all Palestinian parties. They should all act toward ending the state of disunity that allows enemies to utilize these differences to further their own goals and objectives'.

On behalf of all member states, he appealed to all Palestinian parties and factions with their different tendencies, to rise beyond the narrow considerations and to launch without delay a serious national dialogue to end the state of disunity and achieve the Palestinian national unity such as to safeguard the national achievements and enable the Palestinian people to head steadily toward achieving its national goals.

He promised that OIC is fully ready to do whatever is possible to achieve Palestinian unity.

Ihsanoglu also stressed the need to bring peace in Somalia, and made a passionate appeal to all the Member States to urgently contribute troops, logistics, finances and any form of support to beef up the AMISOM peace keeping operations in Somalia as well as the deployment of the joint TFG and ARS security force in order to preserve the survival of the internationally backed Djibouti peace process.

Ihsanoglu also urged the Member States to massively extend urgent humanitarian assistance to the needy people of Somalia and to financially empower the General Secretariat open an OIC Office in Mogadishu as a symbol of our enduring engagement with Somalia. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)






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