Middle East peace process – Press conference by OIC Secretary General (excerpts)

Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) called this afternoon on the international community to counter hatred, intolerance and discrimination against Muslims everywhere, saying that the acts of few extremist fanatics were being used to associate Islam with terrorism.

“Bin Laden cannot represent the Muslim world.  Any fanatic anywhere in any country on any continent has no license to represent Islam,”Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Secretary General of OIC, told correspondents during a Headquarters press conference.


On the Middle East peace process, he said Israel should suspend all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  OIC supported direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians and it continued to support the Arab Peace Initiative, aimed at normalizing relations between Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for Israel’s full withdrawal from the Occupied Territory and creation and recognition of an independent Palestinian State.

“We’re for a peaceful vision whereby a Palestinian State with its capital as East Jerusalem lives side by side with the State of Israel,” he said.  “The problem is nobody knows whether Israel shares this vision or not.” 

In the past 20 years, one Israeli administration after another had demanded and won concessions from their Palestinian counterparts, but then refused to make good on promises to them, saying they were not responsible for the agreements of preceding administrations.  “I think now it’s high time for everybody to honour their commitments and we are supportive of President [Mahmoud] Abbas’ position on this case,” he said.

Asked what he would say to Israel’s officials on fostering the Middle East peace process today, he stressed the need for peaceful coexistence among all religious groups in the region and a two-State solution, adding that: “We should not really punish the Palestinian people because there was a Holocaust in Germany.”

Asked if OIC would accept a Jewish State of Israel next to a Palestinian State when the Palestinian Authority President had not, he said the matter was for the Palestinian leadership and that OIC would support whatever it decided.

On a question about weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, he said ridding the region of such weapons was the best way to reduce tension, conflict, bloodshed and competition for armament.  Double standards on disarmament must end.  “We have to have one yardstick,” he said, stressing that no country should be exempt from weapons inspections and all must abide by the same rules set by the Security Council, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other international bodies.  Moreover, nuclear disarmament must be integral to the peace process.


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For information media • not an official record 


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