Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal arrived in Doha, Qatar, today to head the Kingdom's delegation to the 25th meeting of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Inaugurating the event, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Ibn Khalifa Al-Thani called for a fight against poverty, famine, backwardness, terrorism, environmental hazards and fatal diseases, and advised the leaders of Islamic countries to focus their attention on economic development, praising the OIC's specialized agencies for their assistance in this. Concerning the Middle East situation, the Qatari Emir said peace should be established in the region in accordance with UN resolutions and the land-for-peace formula. He went on to express alarm at ethnic conflicts, condemning all forms of terrorism and urging the meeting to draft an agreement to combat it.
For his part, OIC Secretary-General Ezzedine Laraki underlined the necessity of a solution to the issue of Kuwaiti prisoners of war, and urged OIC member states to strive for an end to the suffering of the Iraqi people. He went on to say that the Palestinian question is of the highest priority, and called on Israel to abide by the land-for-peace principle and respect the agreements it signed with the Palestinians, in order to ensure security and stability in the region.
Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Kamal Kharazi, speaking on behalf of Iranian President Muhammad Khatami, declared that the Islamic nations are in great need of a new strategy for cooperation, and called for combating terrorism, aiding Islamic lands that are under occupation, ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, and urging Iraq to implement the UN resolutions in order to end the hardships of the Iraqi people.
Foreign Minister of Guinea Lamine Camara, speaking on behalf of all African nations, urged Islamic states to rise to the challenge and find solutions to the problems of Iraq, Libya and Kosovo.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by UN representative Lakhdar Al-Ibrahimi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan praised the unanimity of all members of the UN Security Council in supporting the latest deal concluded with Iraq on implementation of UN resolutions, and gave credit to those countries which have extended food and medicine to the Iraqi people. Concerning the Afghan issue, he expressed regret that no progress had been achieved, pointing out the UN is striving to bring all factions to the negotiating table with a view to establishing peace and putting an end to the sufferings of the Afghan people. Remarking that a final solution to the question of Bosnia-Herzegovina is still lacking, he said that close cooperation between the OIC, the UN and other international organizations would lead to the establishment of peace and security the world over.