Organization of Islamic Cooperation suspends Syria’s membership


Foreign ministers at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) agreed on Monday to suspend the membership of Syrian from the international body, Al Arabiya TV reported on Monday.

“The minister of the Islamic countries argeed to suspend the membership of Syria,” Al Arabiya TV quoted its correspondent in the summit as saying.

The ministers were holding preparatory talks before a two-day OIC summit in Mecca starting on Tuesday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi earlier said his country opposed the a suspension of Syria’s membership in the organization.

“I’m openly against the suspension of the membership of any country, any organization,” Salehi told reporters in Jeddah, seat of the 57-strong OIC of which allies Iran and Syria are members.

“By suspending the membership, this does not mean you are moving towards resolving an issue. By this, you are erasing the issue,” he said of the 17-month Syria conflict,

“Every country, especially OIC countries must join hands to resolve this issue in such a way that will help the peace security and stability in the region,” he added on the eve of an OIC summit in Saudi Arabia.

The secretary general of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has told AFP that war-ravaged Syria will not be represented in the summit.

On Monday, Ihsanoglu told the meeting that he was “sorry Syria has entered a dark tunnel which has no clear end.” adding that this “is the expected outcome of ignoring the demands of the people.”

Syria is “living the horrors of a grinding war from which the OIC has repeatedly warned,” he said.

Tuesday’s summit has been called by Saudi King Abdullah who is pushing to mobilize support for Syrian rebels battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran is Assad’s key supporter and has repeatedly warned against intervention in the 17-month conflict that has killed more than 21,000 people, according to monitoring groups.