A meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers began in Istanbul yesterday in preparation for a summit scheduled to take place during the next two days. A draft final statement mainly tackling the issue of Iranian interference in Arab countries is on the table and it calls on Tehran to discontinue its practices.
The foreign ministers of participating countries began to discuss the draft final statement which was distributed to participating delegations. They will discuss the statement before voting on it amid expectations of heated discussions caused by Iran’s attendance of the meetings. Iran’s “interference” in Arab affairs is a key item on the draft statement.
Turkish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Ankara has been in contact with all parties concerned with the issue in order for them to agree on a view point and issue a unified statement. However, they noted that Ankara is “open” to discussing all possibilities. The draft statement calls on Iran to “refrain from interference in internal affairs, respect the sovereignty and independence of neighbouring countries and settle disputes peacefully”.
Regarding other issues, the draft statement stresses the need for a political solution to the Syrian and Yemeni crises and expresses support for the Islamic military alliance formed by Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism. The statement also calls on all interested member states to join the alliance.
On his part, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani told Asharq Al-Awsat that the preliminary meetings looked at ten essential and important issues. He also stressed the importance of discussing Hezbollah and explained that Hezbollah’s presence in Syria has transformed the organisation into not just militias but into a group of mercenaries.