OIC foreign ministers condemn Israeli violations against Palestinians

OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen said the new endowment fund, to be set up to guarantee sustainable financing for UNRWA activities, would be run as a trust fund under the umbrella of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank. (Photo courtesy: KSA Foreign Ministry)
Updated 03 March 2019

OIC foreign ministers condemn Israeli violations against Palestinians

  • Delegates at the 46th session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers concluded their two-day conference in Abu Dhabi by issuing a declaration condemning Israeli violations against the Palestinian people
  • The OIC will mark 2019 as its golden jubilee year with member states urged to organize national programs to celebrate the 50th anniversary

ABU DHABI: A high-profile meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has pledged its commitment to establishing an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Delegates at the 46th session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers concluded their two-day conference in Abu Dhabi by issuing a declaration condemning Israeli violations against the Palestinian people.
And ministers agreed to set up an endowment fund to guarantee future finance for the aid activities of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
According to the UAE news agency, WAM, the declaration also called on Iran to start peace talks with the UAE and international community, aimed at ending the Iranian occupation of three Emirati islands.
A reaffirmation of support in finding a political solution to the crisis in Yemen was agreed, and issues surrounding Syria, Libya and other countries were also covered.
On the situation over Palestine, the OIC statement reaffirmed that the Palestinian issue was central to both Arab and Muslim nations and reiterated the organization’s position to strive to reach a permanent solution to the matter “and to establish an independent Palestinian State according to the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
The declaration condemned “all Israeli violations against the brotherly Palestinian people,” and pledged backing for UNRWA while urging “the international community to fulfill its commitments regarding the Palestinian issue and Palestinian refugees.”
On Yemen, the foreign ministers affirmed their “commitment to preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial independence and integrity” of the country.
They said only a political solution would resolve the crisis in Yemen and they renewed their support for the efforts of the UN, its special envoy for Yemen, and coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia.
The declaration praised the efforts of the OIC over five decades to address the challenges facing not only the Muslim world, but the international community in general.
The agreement said: “(OIC members) affirm our commitment to respect the security, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of member states, and believe in the necessity of resolving existing and emerging litigations and conflicts through negotiation, mediation and reconciliation by adopting diplomatic solutions based on the principles of international law.”
The OIC will mark 2019 as its golden jubilee year with member states urged to organize national programs to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen said the new endowment fund, to be set up to guarantee sustainable financing for UNRWA activities, would be run as a trust fund under the umbrella of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.


Dick Cheney: Upcoming decade bleak if US adopts ‘disengagement’ policy

Updated 10 December 2019

Dick Cheney: Upcoming decade bleak if US adopts ‘disengagement’ policy

  • Former US vice president sounds warning during panel discussion on ‘The global order 2030’
  • Remarks seen as indirect criticism of President Trump’s pledge to pull forces out of Syria

DUBAI: Dick Cheney, one of the most influential vice presidents in US history, has warned that “American disengagement” from the Middle East would only benefit Iran and Russia.

The 78-year-old politician’s warning came during a speech at the Arab Strategy Forum (ASF) in Dubai, an annual event in which the world’s leading decision-makers address global challenges and opportunities in “a precise, balanced and politically scientific manner.”

Cheney’s remarks could be seen as indirect criticism of US President Donald Trump’s pledges to pull forces out of northern Syria.

Addressing conference delegates, he cited the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and the 2015 lifting of sanctions against Iran during Barack Obama’s presidency, as events that amplified instability in the region.

“Our allies were left abandoned, and no one wants to feel that way again,” said Cheney, who was chief executive of Halliburton between 1995 and 2000 and held high posts in several Republican administrations.

The former VP’s remarks came during the forum’s concluding session titled, “The global order 2030: The Unites States and China,” which was attended by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

Joined by Li Zhaoxing, a former Chinese foreign minister, in a candid panel discussion, Cheney offered his views on the world order in the next decade within the context of Iran’s regional ascendancy, China’s rise and Russian ambitions in the Middle East.

“I am not here to speak on behalf of the US government, or to speak to it,” Cheney said, adding that his talking points reflected concerns he suspected everyone shared.

“For decades, there’s been a consensus of America’s influence in the world and how to use it,” he said, citing instances where US disengagement had caused the political situation in the Middle East to implode.

“Humanity has benefited from America’s protectionism of the world and its relationship with its allies in the region.”

According to him, the upcoming decade would be bleak should the US adopt a disengagement policy, with the pressures most felt by supporters and partners in the Middle East.

Turning to the role that the US and China would play in the global status quo by 2030, Cheney said there were still concerns over China’s reputation.

“We had hoped that there would be a political evolution in China, but that hasn’t happened yet,” he added.

Li said: “China will never learn from a world superpower and will never try to be hegemonic,” citing as examples China’s strong relations with the UAE and the wider Arab world, and the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (a global development strategy) on Chinese foreign policy.

“History is the best teacher, but the US has forgotten its own history. You don’t keep your promises,” added Li, directing his statement at Cheney.

Cheney said that since the end of the Cold War, the US had expected that its policy toward China would have had a beneficial effect on its behavior and helped to deepen bilateral relations.

“It was disappointing to see that these expectations were not borne out – China has only grown richer, the regime has become more oppressive, and instead of evolving, it became more assertive,” he said.

In a separate ASF meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Center, Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, discussed Iran’s policies in a session titled, “The race for relevance and influence in the region: GCC, Iran, Turkey and Russia.”

Sadjadpour said he expected in the next 10 years to see the arrival of “an Iranian Putin” with a military background as the country’s next leader.

“After 40 years of a clerical regime and a military autocracy, there is now a rise of Persian nationalism. This is a shift from the sheer revolution ideology,” he said.

Sadjadpour said there had been an evolution of “Shiite Arab” identity during the past two decades, with the focus more on religion than nationality.

Under the circumstances, he noted that Sunni Arab powers had an important role to play in welcoming Shiite Arabs into their fold “and luring them away from Iran.”

The analyst added that the future of the Arab world could not be explored and forecast without considering a growing mental health crisis. “Today, hundreds of millions of people in the region suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and the effects of this will be with us for decades to come, resulting in issues like radicalism.”

He said there was a need for training thousands of counselors in the field of mental health in order to reach out to those whose lives had been robbed by extreme violence and conflicts.