Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir at the extraordinary meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah on Thursday. (SPA)
Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa and Pakistan's Sartaj Aziz at the OIC meeting. (AN photo)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi at the OIC meeting. (AN photo)
SIRAJ WAHAB | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Friday 22 January 2016
Last update 22 January 2016 2:52 am
JEDDAH: Several members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) launched a blistering attack on Iran at an extraordinary meeting here Thursday of its Council of Foreign Ministers, accusing it of fomenting sectarianism and supporting terrorist groups in the region.
A number of ministers blasted Iran for storming the Kingdom’s diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad and for interfering in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. The ministers also took Iran to task for supporting terrorism.
Foreign ministers and representatives of more than 45 of the pan-Islamic organization’s 56 members attended the closed-door meeting, which went on for four hours.
The extraordinary meeting was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia, with the heated deliberations indicating Iran’s near total isolation in the Arab and Muslim world.
In the final communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the ministers said the aggression against the Saudi missions constituted a flagrant violation of international law, in reference to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.
“These aggressions contravene the OIC’s charter, which call for promoting trust and fostering friendly relations, mutual respect and cooperation among member states, and abstaining from interfering in the internal affairs of member states,” said the communiqué.
Without mentioning Nimr Al-Nimr, who was executed in Saudi Arabia recently, the OIC rejected and condemned Iran’s inflammatory statements on the enforcement of judicial decisions against perpetrators of terrorist crimes in the Kingdom.
“These statements are a blatant interference in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia and a contravention of the UN Charter, the OIC Charter and of all international covenants which call for non-interference in the internal affairs of the member states,” said the OIC foreign ministers.
The OIC denounced Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain, Yemen and Syria and its support for terrorism. It also condemned the sectarian and denominational agenda because of its “destructive ... repercussions for the security and stability of the member states.”
The OIC called on all member states and the international community to take serious and effective steps to prevent the recurrence of such aggressions on diplomatic and consular missions in Iran.
The ministers also strongly condemned the abduction of Qataris in Iraq, describing it as a heinous act of terror. They called on the Iraqi government to assume its international legal responsibilities to guarantee the safety and release of the abducted Qataris.
Speaking at the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Iran seeks to spread sedition, unrest and chaos as well as incite sectarian strife in the region. “Iran is the main reason for instability and wars in our region,” he said.
“Iran is a member state which does not respect the charter of our organization and its principles. Iran proudly declares that it controls four Arab capitals and has 200,000 trained fighters in a number of countries in the region. This is clear evidence of Iran’s provocative policies toward its neighbors and the Arab region,” Al-Jubeir said.
“The Iranian attack was a part of ongoing attacks on the diplomatic missions in Iran for the last 35 years,” he said. “It is the responsibility of the host government to take measures, not to issue statements aimed more at deflecting blame than offering practical protection to diplomatic missions,” said Al-Jubeir.
Saudi Arabia severed all diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran after the attacks. Other Gulf countries took varying measures to downgrade ties with Iran, and had condemned the country’s actions.
OIC Secretary-General Iyad Madani said that the strained relations among some of the OIC’s member states were deepening the fractures in the Islamic body politic and promoting political and sectarian polarization.
Warning against exacerbating these tensions, he said the attacks against Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions had breached diplomatic norms. “This situation turns us away from effectively addressing the true challenges that threaten the future of our member states and their peoples,” he said.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi struck a conciliatory tone as he stepped into the meeting. “We do not want confrontation or escalation,” he said. “It is our wish that this meeting will help us reduce tensions.”
During the meeting, many ministers, including Al-Jubeir, dismissed Araqchi’s statement as empty talk. According to them, Iran remains responsible for all the unrest and conflict in the region.
The meeting was chaired by Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s first deputy prime minister and foreign minister. Kuwait is the president of the current session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers.
Among the attendees were foreign ministers from various member states, including Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu, Qatar’s Khalid bin Mohammed Attiyah, Oman’s Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Indonesia's Retno Maraud and the UAE's Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
Other members present included Bahrain’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, Pakistan’s Sartaj Aziz, Malaysia’s Anifah Aman, Morocco’s Mbarka Bouaida, Bangladesh’s Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and Dunya Maumoon of Maldives.
OIC flays ‘terror backer, sectarian Iran’ | Arab News