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Foreign ministers conference urges int’l community to recognize new Palestinian unity govt

26 February, 2007

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign ministers of like minded Islamic countries have called upon Israel to pull out its forces from Lebanon, Golan heights and all occupied territory including Syria and urged international community to recognize new Palestinian unity government and restore economic ties with Palestine.

The demand was made in a joint declaration issued here on the conclusion of conference on Sunday . The foreign ministers of seven like minded Islamic countries met in foreign office. Pakistan hosted the conference. Besides foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Pakistan, secretary general of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) also attended the meeting.

The conference deliberated over one point agenda of Palestine. The prevailing situation in Middle East was also discussed. The participants of the conference voiced grave concern over growing violence in Iraq. They also expressed their concern over US, Iran row over nuclear program. The conference focused particularly on the situation of Lebanon and Palestine.

Giving details of the joint declaration in a press conference on the conclusion of conference, foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said foreign ministers of seven Islamic countries discussed new ideas for establishment of peace in Palestine and Middle East. These ideas will be presented in OIC summit conference taking place in Makkah next month. " We have exchanged views at length on Middle east situation".

Through the joint declaration the international community has been urged to recognize new unity government of Palestine. The economic relations be also revived. Israel should immediately halt construction around Masjid Aqsa. The foreign ministers condemned the construction and excavation work.

The declaration also stressed upon establishment of independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

All the parties in Lebanon have been asked to demonstrate fortitude and patience. Neighbouring countries have been urged to honour geographical integrity of Lebanon.

The foreign ministers expressed concern over increasing violence in Iraq and urged that efforts be launched to develop national consensus there.

The foreign minister underlined the need for settlement of Iran issue through diplomatic means rather than through use of force saying Muslim countries oppose use of force against Iran.

They also slammed terrorism saying it is conspiracy against the Muslims and Islamic countries. They condemned the movement launched to link Islam to terrorism saying Islam has no relevance with terrorism.

Replying to a question the foreign minister said all the Muslim countries are opposed to use of force against Iran.

It has been emphasized that Palestine be declared region of peace. The proposals presented in this respect were endorsed.

To a question he said, " we were not taking forward US agenda. " We have differences with US on several issues.

Nothing was discussed on Kashmir issue, he said adding this issue was not included in the agenda. Conference had one point agenda and it was Middle East situation.

He told discussions were underway with several countries for participation in OIC conference. It is not known which country will attend it.

The Palestinians were urged to set aside their differences as Palestine is the core issue with reference to peace in Middle East.

He informed the foreign ministers of like minded Islamic countries would remain in contact in future so that harmony is forged on this issue and the matter is taken forward.

Kasuri said " we don't accept US action against Iraq as well as its reservations on Iran, Pakistan, India gas pipeline project.

The conference agreed on sustaining the efforts for betterment in the situation of Iraq and Palestine.

The foreign ministers of like mined Islamic countries are likely to meet President General Pervez Musharraf today.


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