Karzai in Cairo as crucial OIC summit begins
KABUL (PAN): Soon after signing a strategic deal with Norwegian prime minister, President Hamid Karzai flew to Egypt overnight from Oslo to attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit that began in Cairo on Wednesday, the Presidential Palace said.
Leaders from 56 Islamic nations gathered in Cairo to push for a solution to the crisis in Syria amid disputes with Iran during the two-day meeting that will focus on how to stop bloodshed in Syria, where Tehran is one of President Bashar al-Assad’s last allies.
Karzai, leading the same delegation that accompanied him during the just-concluded talks with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and his team including military officials in London, arrived in Cairo late on Tuesday night, the Palace said in a statement.
"President Karzai will deliver his speech at the OIC summit highlighting important issues and challenges facing the Islamic world," the statement said.
A communiqué drafted by foreign ministers of the 56-member OIC blamed Assad’s government for most of the slaughter and urges it to open talks on a political transition.
It also endorsed the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and urged it to speed up the creation of a transitional government “to be ready to assume responsibility in full until the completion of the desired political change process.”
The draft statement, subject to amendment at the summit, called for a Syrian-led solution to the conflict, in which some 60,000 people have died, and rejected outside intervention.
“We urge the Syrian regime to show wisdom and call for serious dialogue to take place between the national coalition of the Syrian revolution, opposition forces, and representatives of the Syrian government committed to political transformation in Syria and those who have not been directly involved in any form of oppression...” the statement said.
SNC leader Moaz al-khatib offered at the weekend to meet Assad’s ceremonial deputy, Farouq al-Shara, for peace talks if the authorities released thousands of prisoners.
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, will seek to project his country as the leader of the Islamic world when he opens the summit seven months after becoming Egypt’s first democratically elected head of state.
Egypt, the most populous Arab state, is taking over the OIC chair for three years at a time of upheaval in the Arab world and sectarian tension between the main branches of Islam. Mursi faces sustained protests at home by liberal and leftist opponents who accuse him of seeking to impose Islamist rule.
With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making an ice-breaking visit to Egypt after 34 years of estrangement, the 12th OIC summit will also confer on strengthening political and economical ties among members countries and other issues gripping the Ummah.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.