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OIC calls for peaceful solution: Iran's N-issue

03-02-2005

By Sher Baz Khan

ISLAMABAD, Dawn: Pakistan and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) have called for a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear issue, saying any US attack on another Muslim country, after Afghanistan and Iraq, may further fuel tension between the Muslim world and the West.

The call was made by Minister for Foreign Affairs Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri and OIC's Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu while responding to questions at a news conference held at the Foreign Office here on Wednesday. They were briefing newsmen on the future role of the OIC and possible changes in its charter, secretariat and decision-making process.

Mr Ihsanoglu said the OIC wanted a peaceful solution and Iran's abiding with international laws and Tehran's efforts for dialogue should be respected. "We do not need another intervention in the Muslim world. The Islamophobia in the West after the 9/11 could stir a very strong reaction in the masses and intellectuals of the Muslim countries," he warned.

Elaborating Pakistan's viewpoint, Mr Kasuri said Iran was a brotherly country and Pakistan had already paid a very high price for the situation in Afghanistan and always wanted peace in neighbouring countries as well as on its own borders.

Pakistan, he added, wanted a peaceful solution to the Iran's N-issue and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had discussed the issue in Brussels with European Union leaders. "There are three parties to the issue - the US, Iran and EU - and all of them should work for a peaceful solution to the problem," Mr Kasuri said.

He said it was now in the hands of Iran to take measures for a peaceful solution to the issue, saying: "It's now the Iran's decision. Friends can only help in bringing temperatures down." The minister said that the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), to which Iran was a signatory, simultaneously demanded some duties from Iran and gives some rights to it.

"It is Iran's right to keep peaceful technology and Pakistan wanted Iran's rights to be protected and respected," the foreign minister said. The secretary-general and the minister also said that they supported the G-3 (UK, France and Germany) proposed solution to Iran's nuclear issue.

IRAQ'S ELECTION: The OIC secretary-general termed Iraq's elections 'not complete' as majority of the Sunni population of the country boycotted elections. However, he said, it was a step in the direction of democracy as the country held elections after 50 years.

When asked there was a general impression that elections in Iraq were a prelude to disintegration of the country into Sunni, Shia and Kurd areas, both Mr Kasuri and Mr Ihsanoglu made it clear that the OIC wanted territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq to be maintained at any cost with no sectarianism in its society.

Mr Kasuri said though Sunnis did not fully participate in the elections, reports were coming from Iraq that Sunnis would have an appropriate say in the new set-up and these reports were encouraging.

KASHMIR: The secretary-general reiterated that the OIC would continue its principled stand on the Kashmir issue. It wanted a peaceful solution to the issue in accordance with UN and OIC resolutions and the wishes of Kashmiris, he observed.

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