October 11, 2001
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OIC for global conference on terrorism

The Organisation of Islamic Conference, strongly denouncing the September 11 terror attacks on the United States, on Thursday called on the United Nations to convene an international conference on terrorism.

"These terrorist acts are against the teachings of divinely revealed religions and against moral and human values," a statement issued after the meeting of the OIC foreign ministers in Doha said.

"The conference strongly condemned the brutal terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, which caused heavy human losses," the statement said.

"A common effort is needed to enhance dialogue between Islam and the West in order to reach a better understanding through extending the bridges of communication between the two civilisations," it said.

Opening the meeting on Wednesday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim Al-Thani had stressed the need to set up a fund for assisting Afghans under the umbrella of the OIC and announced a donation of $10 million to this fund.

Among the leaders attending the meeting were Palestine Authority President Yasser Arafat and Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar.

Sheikh Hamad, the chairman of the 57-member OIC, called on the international community to bear their responsibilities and provide international safety to Palestinians in the face of the Israeli war machine.

He said the recent statement of US President George W Bush about setting up a Palestinian state had been welcomed by the international community. He hoped that the US would put this stance into effect and ensure lasting and comprehensive peace for countries of the region.

The meeting also discussed critical issues facing the world since US-led military strikes on Afghanistan began on October 7.

The OIC statement said it would be ready to contribute in any collective international effort under the UN to define various forms of terrorism "without double standard" and "to tackle its reasons and whip out its roots".

"An international conference under the auspices of the UN should be convened to design an action plan against terrorism taking into account the respect for sovereignty of UN member states under the international law," the OIC said.

It also rejected links between terrorism and the legitimate rights of Arab and Islamic peoples (Palestine and Lebanon) to self-determination and self-defence, and to fight against Israeli occupation.

It hoped concern over the aftermath of the September 11 attacks would not derail the international community from shouldering its responsibility in regards to state terrorism committed by Israel against Palestinians.

It warned Israel against exploiting the current events as an excuse to pursue its aggression against Palestinians.

The OIC also urged the UN Security Council, major peace sponsors -- the US and Russia, and the European Union, to exert utmost effort to halt Israeli savage practices, provide international protection to Palestinians, and end Israeli occupation of Arab lands.

Indo-Asian News Service

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