Islamic summit readies to welcome Iraq
( 2003-10-13 09:14) (Agencies)
Delegates to the world's largest gathering of Islamic nations said Sunday that they expect to adopt a resolution welcoming the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council but will also call for Iraq's return to full independence and control over its oil.
If approved, the resolution would give another layer of legitimacy to the Iraqi body.
Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official issued a statement Sunday saying Palestinians are entitled to fight Israel's occupation of their land by any means. He didn't elaborate, but in the past the Palestinian Authority has condemned suicide attacks.
The gathering of the 57 countries in the Islamic Conference, the world's biggest Muslim political grouping, is its first regular summit since the Sept. 11 attacks brought terrorism to the center of world politics. The weeklong meeting opened Saturday.
Divisions over Iraq threatened to prevent Islamic leaders from finding a unified voice to address a widespread feeling that the war against terrorism has turned into a war against Muslims.
But delegates said Sunday that during their meeting here they expect to adopt a resolution acknowledging the Governing Council. The recognition, however, would be balanced with calls for Iraq's return to full independence and control over its oil.
The resolution "is more of a welcome and acknowledgment of the Governing Council and considering it as a step in the right direction," said Musa Braiza, a senior official from Jordan. "I am not aware of any opposition."
Before the meeting, summit host Malaysia contended no Iraqi government should be seated at the gathering because the country is under U.S. occupation.
But the powerful Arab bloc said the Governing Council is transitional and legitimate enough, for now. The bloc prevailed, and Iraq is being represented by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, and by Ayad Alawi, current holder of the council's rotating leadership.
Israel will also be a major topic of discussion at the summit. Syria is expected to receive a strong resolution condemning Israel for last week's airstrike against an alleged Palestinian training camp on its soil, a day after a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 20 Israelis.
Syria maintains the camp closed years ago. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused Israel of staging the attack in hopes of triggering U.S. backing in a wider Mideast war.
On Sunday, Farouk Kaddoumi, the Palestinians de facto foreign minister and top official at the summit, implied Palestinians have the right to "use all kinds and means" to liberate themselves from Israel, citing the United Nations Charter authorizing people living under occupation.
"In the U.N. Charter, it is very clearly stated that all and any people under foreign occupation will have the right to use all kinds and means to liberate themselves," Kaddoumi said. "This is the U.N. Charter, and we are permanent observers of the U.N."
The tactic of suicide bombings is a raw subject for the 34-year-old Islamic grouping, which is grappling to transform itself from issuing empty phrases at summits every three years to an effective advocate for Muslim nations on the world stage.
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