Islamic nations to press for bigger UN role in Iraq, ME
KUALA LUMPUR: The world’s Islamic nations will press at an emergency meeting here this week for the United Nations to play a bigger role in Iraq and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on Monday.
The meeting of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was called by Malaysia, current chair of the world’s biggest Muslim grouping, and brought forward to Thursday at the request of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Asked at a news conference whether the OIC would discuss sending troops to Iraq, Abdullah said: “We are open to many suggestions. I don’t want to anticipate, but in Iraq we would certainly want to see a bigger role for the United Nations.” Abdullah said the OIC saw the UN as being “a fair broker” which would be able to help solve the problems in Iraq.
“And that can also apply to Palestine. The situation is going from bad to worse. The escalation of tension, especially so much talk of revenge and reprisal, is certainly not going to be good for Palestine and the Palestinians,” he said.
Abdullah, whose country also chairs the Non-Aligned Movement of more than 100 developing nations, said at the weekend he had written to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to call for a central UN role in Iraq.
The letters, sent on April 14, were addressed to US President George W Bush, British Premier Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Hu Jintao. In a separate letter on Friday to Bush, Blair, Putin and UN secretary general Kofi Annan, Abdullah said Malaysia supported the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. But he expressed concern over Bush’s support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan which would allow Israel to keep some Arab land captured in the 1967 war. —AFP