Islamic summit slams Hezbollah for ‘terrorism’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted the summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, comprised of 57 member states

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Most states in an Islamic summit on Friday denounced Lebanon’s Shiite group Hezbollah for spreading “terrorism” and for destabilizing the national security of its member countries.

This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted the summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), comprised of 57 member states. Over 30 leaders attended the summit, including the Saudi king and Iranian president.

The final declaration expressed hope that negotiations that started in Geneva on April 13 would contribute to resolving “the Syrian crisis as soon as possible” and “deplored Iran’s interference” and “continued support for terrorism” not only in Syria but also Bahrain, Yemen, and Somalia.

OIC, however, did not officially blacklist Hezbollah nor circulate its final communique when it condemned the Lebanese group.

Hezbollah has long been a key ally to Iran, who are key backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The statement comes after Saudi King Salman made important trips to both Egypt and later Turkey to improve and consolidate the kingdom’s ties with the two.

King Salman visits to Ankara showed a visible improvement ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia since his inauguration as king in 2015.

Salman Dosri, an analyst, told Al Arabiya News Channel that it is “first time” that the summit denounces an Iranian proxy of such sort. He said Turkey is further consolidating its ties with Saudi since both “share the same outlook on Syria.”

The host Turkey saw the summit as a chance to shore up its prestige in the Islamic world where Erdogan has made it his mission at the meeting to bring the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims closer together.

Erdogan, who chaired OIC’s final session, lamented the fact that Muslim countries who are “the heirs of a civilization that was built on columns of peace and justice are being remembered more for wars, armed conflict, sectarianism and terrorism.”

“As Muslims, we cannot overcome our difficulties without achieving unity in spite of our differences,” said the Turkish leader during the closing ceremony after delegates took a break to perform Friday prayers.

Erdogan also said the establishment of an international arbitration body in Istanbul is part of the OIC 2025 action plan and welcomed a decision reached a day earlier to create a Turkey-based police coordination center aimed at increasing cooperation against terrorism.

(With AP and AFP)

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