From Wed Dec 12 08:01:30 2001
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 16:55:56 -0600 (CST)
Organization: South Movement
From: Dave Muller <>
Subject: [southnews] OIC urges UN Security Council to dedeploy intl.
Article: 131819
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

OIC ministerial meeting kicks off, Arafat's absence overshadow the event

South News, 11 December 2001

The ministerial meetings of the Organization of Islamic Conference's foreign ministers started Monday on the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories.

Some 51 foreign ministers and representatives of Muslim countries took part in the meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher leading Egypt's delegation.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat could not attend the meeting as Israeli occupation forces prevented him from leaving for Doha to give the keynote address.

In his speech, the Foreign Minister of Mali described the situation in the Middle East as very dangerous and highlighted the need to terminate Israeli acts of aggression and violence.

Speaking to the delegates, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the OIC, regretted Arafat's absence and described the meeting as being held in grave and tragic circumstances.

Sheikh Hamad called on countries that have close ties with Israel and interests in the region to shoulder their responsibilities.

He urged the international community to end the Israeli occupation and recognise Palestinian rights.

He proposed setting up a ministerial committee to launch a media mechanism to end the deteriorating situation in the region and revive the Mideast peace process.

Speaking on behalf of Arafat, Minister of Local Administration Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian president wished to attend the event but he could not because of the Israeli aggression and siege with tanks a few meters away from his residence place.

The Israeli acts of aggression have gone far beyond all red lines with the tank and warplane shelling of Palestinian territories that killed more than 1900 Palestinians and injured 39,000 others, said Erekat.

He added that the Palestinians have also lost some $ 9 billion. The Palestinians are committed to the Mideast peace process but the Israeli government has been mounting aggressions and siege, the Palestinian minister said.

He added that the Israeli hostile policy seeks to force the Palestinian leadership to accept the Israeli terms.

He urged the OIC foreign ministers to adopt a firm stance in support of the Palestinian people and act immediately in order to provide the Palestinian with international protection and dispatch international observers to the region.

On his part, OIC Secretary General Abdel Wahid Belqaziz warned against the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories.

He accused Israel of attempting to link Palestinian resistance with terrorism and urged for a world definition of terrorism and measures to combat terror.

The OIC chief cautioned that Israel is attempting to undermine the Palestinian Authority (PA) and underlined that Israel will never enjoy security unless the Palestinians restore their rights.

Belqaziz highlighted the need to provide the Palestinians with international protection via setting up a peacekeeping force.

On his part, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa condemned the continued Israeli aggressions and preventing Arafat from leaving the Palestinian territories. The Muslim countries should adopt a clear-cut stance over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said Moussa.

He added that such a stance should be based on a rejection of the Israeli-made peace theories and the imposed status quo. The Palestinian people have the right to establish their independent state, he stressed.

Moussa urged for a protection of civilians and to apply the Fourth Geneva Conventions and sending international monitors to the territories.