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 signed. 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 Center is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material.
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