Mecca – The 14th Islamic Summit hosted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has commenced in the al-Safa Palace in Mecca, with the attendance of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and several heads of state from the Arab and Islamic world.
The summit this year is titled “Mecca Summit: Together for the Future,” and aims at developing a unified stance on events in the Islamic world.
The main topics of discussions for the summit will focus on the question of Palestine, Islamophobia, countering extremism and terrorism, and the situation of Muslims around the world.
“The recent attacks do not only target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also the maritime traffic, the maritime movement, and the oil supply globally,” Saudi King Salman said to the Islamic Summit in #Mecca.https://t.co/JTIjAZToCh pic.twitter.com/xksKaBSQDb— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) May 31, 2019
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz opened the session by saying that the Palestinian cause remains the top priority of the OIC’s work.
“The Palestinian issue is the essential priority of the work of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is the focus of our concern so that the brotherly Palestinian people will receive all their legitimate rights guaranteed by international resolutions and the Arab peace initiative,” King Salman said.
“We reaffirm our unequivocal rejection of any measures that would affect the historical and legal status of Jerusalem,” he added.
King Salman also spoke on the recent attacks on the Arabian Gulf, saying that the assaults were “not only target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also the maritime traffic, the maritime movement, and the oil supply globally.”
OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen spoke next, reiterating Saudi King Salman’s statement regarding the Palestinian cause, adding that the Islamic organization “insists on the historic rights of Palestinians and on the two-state solution.”
“We reject any action that infringes on the historical and legal status of East Jerusalem,” Al-Othaimeen told the summit.
Al-Othaimeen also said that terrorism is not associated with any religion, citing the recent Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand.
“Terrorism and extremism are some of the biggest challenges that we are facing,” he said.
Speaking to Al Arabiya earlier in the day, Al-Othaimeen said that the Islamic Summit will complement the two previous Gulf and Arab summits held in Mecca on Thursday in its discussions regarding Iran’s disruptive activities both in the Arab and Islamic regions.
“The stance of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is clear and direct, that we are with the legitimate government of Yemen. We condemn all the actions perpetrated by the Houthis. We also condemn the countries which support the Houthis either financially, by supplying them with weapons, or those who provide them with a political cover. We support the stance taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Coalition against the Houthis. At one point, even the Houthis attempted to launch a missile targeting Mecca,” OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen told Al Arabiya.
Analysts also weighed in during the day, saying they expect the Islamic summit to support the policies in place regarding Iran.
“It was clear that both the Gulf and Arab emergency meetings were direct and unified in their stance regarding the Iranian file and we expect that the Islamic Summit’s agenda and final communique will not only complement the previous two summits but also take practical steps in how to implement future policies in order to tackle the issues at hand,” Hamoud Abutaleb, said a Saudi political writer.
For his part, Radwan Buhaidel, an Algerian political researcher, told Al Arabiya that three summits come at a pivotal time in the region, especially after the exceptional circumstances in recent weeks.
“These summits primarily address Iranian aggression, especially after the attacks on oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia and the maritime attack on the ships off the coast of the UAE. While the two Gulf and Arab summits were unified among Arab brethren regarding the issue, the Islamic Summit will focus on dealing with Iran on a wider scale as it affects other Islamic countries near the region,” Buhaidel said.
“While Iran is still one of the main topics of discussions during the last day of the Mecca Summits, the Islamic Summit hosted by the OIC will probably give a priority to the Palestinian cause as well,” he added.
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