[IWAR] ISLAMIC CONFERENCE supports Palestine

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Sun Dec 07 1997 - 10:02:37 PST

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       Posted at 6:53 p.m. PST Saturday, December 6, 1997 
                       Palestinians to gain strong Moslem support
       TEHRAN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - An Islamic summit will give firm support to
       Palestinian President Yasser Arafat while strongly criticising Israel's
       policies towards the Middle East peace process, delegates said.
       ``There will be strong support for the Palestinians and there is
       international unanimity that Israel's policy is going in the wrong
       direction,'' said Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Moussa.
       He said the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) ``is in harmony
       with the views expressed by the Arab League, the Organisation of African
       Unity, the United Nations...that Israel is turning its back on the peace
       process as a whole.''
       Moussa was speaking to Egyptian journalists late on Saturday on the
       sidelines of an OIC ministerial meeting preparing for this week's
       55-member OIC summit in Tehran. Leaders representing some 1.2 billion
       Moslems meet every three years.
       Delegates said the wording of the OIC summit's final statement might not
       refer directly to the 1993 Palestinian-Israeli peace accords but it was
       expected to blast Israel for failing to honour agreements already
       Arafat was due to arrive in Tehran on Monday after talks in Geneva on
       Saturday with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She plans more
       separate meetings with him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
       this month.
       OIC host Iran is a staunch opponent of the Arab-Israeli peace process
       and has bitterly criticised Arafat for signing peace accords with the
       Jewish state which, along with the United States, is the Islamic
       republic's declared enemy.
       But Moussa, whose country has no diplomatic ties with Iran, said Tehran
       was not trying to influence the final statement ``and is going along
       with the mainstream of member states.''
       ``The State of Palestine'' is a full member of the OIC which was set up
       in 1969 mainly in response to the burning of the Moslem faith's third
       holiest shrine -- al-Aqsa mosque in Israeli-held Arab East Jerusalem.
       The OIC is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but its aspiration is to
       establish permanent headquarters in Jerusalem, the holy city which
       members insist is the capital of Palestine. Israel says the united city
       is its eternal capital.
       Albright, trying to set up ``final status'' Israeli-Palestinian talks
       which would include Jerusalem's future, is pushing Israel to carry out a
       new troop withdrawal in the West Bank and the Palestinians to crack down
       on Moslem extremists.
       Some OIC delegates doubted if an Israeli proposal for an as yet
       unspecified West Bank pullback would lead to a major breakthrough.
       A senior delegate close to the peace process said: ``As the offer now
       stands I do not think much will come out of it.''
       )1997 Mercury Center. The information you receive online from Mercury
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