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UAE’s Gargash: Malaysian summit attendees cannot ‘rise up’ without Arab presence

Published: Updated:

UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Friday reiterated Saudi Arabia’s stance on the Malaysian summit in Kuala Lumpur, saying that the meeting was the wrong forum to discuss matters of importance to the Muslim world.

“Is it possible for the Islamic world to rise up in the absence of the Arab presence?... The obvious answer is no, because polarization, separation, and prejudice have never been and will never be a solution,” Gargash wrote on Twitter.

Divisions between Muslim countries over regional issues were clear on Thursday when only less than half of the invited nations attended the four-day summit in Malaysia’s Kuala Lampur.

While all 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were invited, around 20 countries, including Iran and Turkey, sent their delegates.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia refused to send delegates to the meeting. However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani were in attendance.

During a phone call with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday, King Salman reaffirmed that holding meetings outside the OIC was against the interest of the Muslim world, and that issues relating to the member nations should be discussed through the organization.

The OIC has often acted as the collective voice for Muslim countries on issues of common concern.