BAKU (AFP) – Palestinian factions must fight a slide into civil war which is being exploited by Israel, Islamic diplomats said at a pan-Muslim conference in Azerbaijan.
“Palestinian forces should not allow a civil war to take place,” the foreign minister of Malaysia, Syed Hamid Albar, said at the opening of an Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Baku.
Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Kurbi, said the victory of the Palestinian Hamas faction at parliamentary elections in January was being exploited by Israel. Like Israel, the United States and the European Union consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization.
“The victory of Hamas is a trump card in the hands of Israel, which does not want dialogue with the Palestinian government,” he said.
He also called on international donors to resume the aid to the Palestinians that was cut by Western governments after the Hamas win.
“Today there are threats to blockade the Palestinian people. We demand donor countries aid Palestine,” Kurbi said.
Rivalry between the Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions has triggered unprecedented violent clashes that began after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he wanted a vote that would implicitly recognize Israel.
Foreign ministers of Islamic nations have gathered in Baku for a meeting expected to be dominated by developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and in Iraq as well as the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.
“We support UN calls for the Persian Gulf to be free of nuclear weapons. At the same time Israel must also sign the nuclear non-proliferation agreement,” Kurbi said.
Yemen supports the creation of a “joint nuclear center for the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” as a solution to the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, Kurbi added.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev also called for reforms to the UN Security Council, which he said has “no effective mechanism for implementing decisions.
“If a decision is made it must be executed. If a country does not execute a decision, sanctions should be used against it,” Aliyev said in a veiled jab at Azerbaijan’s foe Armenia which Baku believes has not complied with UN resolutions over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.