- Title: SAUDI ARABIA: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) suspends Syria
- Date: 16th August 2012
- Summary: MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA (AUGUST 16, 2012) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) WIDE OF OIC MEETING LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTER NAJEEB MEQATI SEATED AT OIC MEETING IRAN FM ALI AKBAR SALIHI SEATED VARIOUS OF SAUDI CROWN PRINCE SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ SEATED SAUDI KING ABDULLAH BIN ABDULAZIZ SEATED VARIOUS OF OIC SECRETARY GENERAL SPEAKING TO OIC MEMBERS TUNISIAN PRESIDENT AL MARZUKI OIC MEMBERS SEATED JORDAN AMBASSADOR IN SAUDI ARABIA SEATED AFGHAN PRESIDENT KARZAI SEATED VARIOUS OF DELEGATED SEATED REPORTERS LEAVING OIC MEETING HALL WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE LOGO OG OIC SUMMIT REPORTERS SOUNDBITE (Arabic) GENERAL EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, OIC SECRETARY GENERAL,SAYING: "This is a very strong message for the Syrian regime telling them that the Islamic world cannot accept a system that kills its people. And it's a message to the international community as well, telling them that the Islamic community supports a political, peaceful solution and does not want any more bloodshed." SOUNDBITE (English) GENERAL EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, OIC SECRETARY GENERAL, SAYING: "I didn't see too much support for external military intervention." REPORTERS ATTENDANCE LEAVING CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 31st August 2012 13:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Reuters ID: LVABRTLWNL9EKR7KE80ISFUVF0D3
- Story Text: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria's membership early on Thursday (August 16) at a summit of Muslim leaders in Mecca, citing President Bashar al-Assad's violent suppression of the Syrian revolt.
"The conference decides to suspend the Syrian Arab Republic membership in the OIC and all its subsidiary organs, specialised and affiliated institutions," the closing statement said.
The move had been approved on Monday at a preliminary meeting of OIC foreign ministers and was agreed on the summit's second night despite opposition from Iran.
Saudi Arabia, the summit's host, has led Arab efforts to isolate Syria diplomatically and has backed calls for the Syrian rebel opposition to be armed, which Foreign Minister Saud al-Fasial described in February as "an excellent idea."
However, speaking to reporters after the summit, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said he "didn't see much support for external military intervention" in Syria during the summit.
He described the decision to suspend Syrian membership as "a message to the international community ... that the Islamic community supports a political, peaceful solution and does not want any more bloodshed."
The summit, which has taken place late on consecutive nights because of the Ramadan fast, had been billed as a diplomatic showdown between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran, which have backed different sides in sectarian conflicts in the Middle East.
However, Saudi King Abdullah tried to conciliate Iran at the summit opening by placing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at his side to welcome Muslim leaders in a gesture Saudi political analysts said was aimed at putting old grievances aside in the quest for a resolution to the Syrian crisis.
He also suggested founding a centre for dialogue between Islam's sects, another move aimed at defusing some of the region's sectarian tensions. That proposal was adopted by the summit.
In his first published comments since the summit opened, Ahmadinejad appeared to rebuff the Saudi move. On Iran's Mehr news agency on Wednesday he said countries which wanted the Syrian crisis solved must come up with a plan of action to do so.
"But unfortunately some of our brothers and friends have not acted well in this area and instead of inviting the conflicting parties for talks and understanding, they are busy sending weapons into the country and encouraging slaughter," he added.
Syria and Iran have accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of arming the rebels.
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