- Title: SAUDIA ARABIA: OIC members attend summit in Saudi
- Date: 15th August 2012
- Summary: MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA (AUGUST 15, 2012) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) ***CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF ORGANISATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION (OIC) NATIONAL FLAGS OUTSIDE ENTRANCE OF AL-SAFA PALACE CAMERAMEN AND JOURNALISTS WAITING TO ENTER PALACE FOR OIC MEETING OIC LEADERS, STANDING FOR GROUP PHOTOGRAPH SAUDI KING ABDULLAH BIN ANDULAZIZ, STANDING WITH CANE IN MIDDLE OF THE OIC LEADERS IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD SHAKING HAND WITH OTHER OIC MEMBERS OIC LEADERS STANDING AFGHANISTAN'S PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI STANDING FOR GROUP PHOTO NEXT TO OTHER LEADERS SAUDI KING ABDULLAH WALKING WITH TURKISH PRESIDENT ABDULLAH GUL AND THE OIC LEADERS TO THE MEETING HALL AHMADINEJAD SMILING AT PHOTOGRAPHERS, SHOWING PEACE SIGN WITH HANDS REPORTERS WAITING TO ENTER SUMMIT HALL LOGO OF THE ISLAMIC SOLIDARITY SUMMIT IN MECCA SAUDI KING SEATED WITH OIC SECRETARY GENERAL, EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU CLOSE OF SAUDI KING BEING PHOTOGRAPHED, WAITING TO BEGIN SUMMIT AHMADINEJAD SEATED, WAITING FOR SUMMIT TO BEGIN EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT MOHAMED MURSI, SEATED, WAITING FOR SUMMIT TO BEGIN EMIR OF KUWAIT SHEIKH SABAH AL-AHMAD AL-SABAH SEATED, WAITING FOR SUMMIT TO BEGIN NEWLY ELECTED LIBYAN PRESIDENT MOHAMMED MAGARIEF SEATED, WAITING FOR SUMMIT TO BEGIN
- Embargoed: 30th August 2012 13:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Reuters ID: LVA2IPIY0UBHNNXGREG4HK0Z6HRG
- Story Text: Leaders of Muslim countries are expected to suspend Syria's membership of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation at a summit in Mecca on Wednesday (August 15), despite the vocal objections of President Bashar al-Assad's main ally Iran.
The 57-member body have already agreed to suspend Syria from the OIC over President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on protests. Syria's civil war has divided Muslim countries on sectarian lines, with Sunni-led Arab states and Turkey backing Syria's rebels, while Shi'ite Iran supports Assad.
The decision to suspend Syria requires support of two thirds of members and is strongly opposed by Tehran.
Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran have tussled for influence in recent years in sectarian conflicts across the Middle East.
King Abdullah seated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at his side as the summit opened, in an apparent conciliatory gesture.
Ahmadinejad, wearing the dark suit and shirt without tie in a fashion favoured by Iranian leaders, sat at the left hand of the octogenarian king who wore traditional Arab robes.
Leaders from major Middle Eastern and South Asian states arrived in the entrance chamber, including Ahmadinejad who acknowledged the media by making a peace sign with his right hand before entering the meeting room.
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi and newly-elected Libyan President Mohammed Magarief were among those attending the summit.
Riyadh has called for Syrians to be "enabled to protect themselves" if the international community cannot protect them, and has excoriated Assad's use of force against civilians.
Syria's mainly Sunni Muslim rebels are backed by Sunni-ruled Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as Turkey, while Shi'ite Iran supports Assad, a member of the Alawite minority sect, an offshoot of Shi'a Islam.
Analysts have billed the summit as a potential showdown between Iran and Sunni states led by Saudi Arabia over Tehran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his 17-month suppression of a popular uprising.
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