OIC supports full sovereignty for Iraq

17 June 2004
Foreign ministers of 57 mainly Muslim countries, meeting at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), pledged on 17 June to back Iraq's interim administration and renewed their support for a Palestinian state.

It said the OIC was convinced of the need for Iraq to be 'ruled by its own people through a broad-based, inclusive and fully representative government of Iraq, in conformity with a constitution accepted by the Iraqi people'.

The statement also said: 'We have decided to actively assist Iraq in its transition and in meeting its needs', although the specifics of the assistance were not disclosed.

An Arab minister stated that Tunisia, Morocco and Pakistan offered to send troops to protect the UN, if it decided to return to Iraq.

The OIC also called on the UN to send troops to the Palestinian territories and reaffirmed its support for the creation of a Palestinian state. Known as the Istanbul Declaration, the statement called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and for lifting the Israeli siege of the headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The statement condemned all forms of global terrorism and committed OIC members to political and social reform, saying: 'We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms, including state terrorism. We agree to redouble our efforts in fighting this international scourge'.

The three-day meeting saw a Turk elected as the new secretary general of the OIC. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, head of the OIC's Istanbul-based cultural arm, will hold the post for four years.

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