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OIC, GCC sign accord — The pact aims at promoting political and economic cooperation


By P.K. Abdul Ghafour

JEDDAH, (Arab News): The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is the world's largest Muslim organization, signed a landmark agreement on Monday with the Gulf Cooperation Council to strengthen political, economic and cultural cooperation.

“The agreement will usher in a new era in the historic relations between the two organizations,” said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the OIC, after signing the pact with his GCC counterpart Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah.

“We are proud to have reached this important agreement,” Ihsanoglu said, adding that it would promote cooperation between the two strategic organizations in various fields.

The OIC secretary-general said the agreement would promote coordination between the two bodies on major issues of mutual concern. “It will also contribute immensely toward realizing their mutual objectives,” he said.

Speaking about the significance of the agreement, Ihsanoglu said both organizations would benefit from the experience and expertise of one another. He said the GCC has made significant progress in recent years. “We’ll certainly benefit from its achievements.”

Al-Attiyah praised the OIC secretary-general for taking the initiative to sign the agreement. He also commended the OIC’s efforts in the service of Islamic causes. “This agreement will strengthen joint Islamic action by the two organizations,” he added.

The GCC chief said the two organizations would work together to realize the hopes and aspirations of their peoples. “We’ll always support OIC’s activities,” he said.

Muhammad bin Ahmed Tayeb, director general of the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s regional office, attended the signing ceremony that was held at Ihsanoglu’s residence. He welcomed the accord between the two major organizations. “Saudi Arabia supports and encourages such agreements in order to boost relations between Muslim countries,” Tayeb said.

“The agreement aims to enhance relations between members of the two organizations at bilateral and multilateral levels,” the OIC said in a statement.

The OIC and GCC will work together to achieve moral and material progress of their member countries as well as to protect and develop their mutual interests. They will also work together to combat terrorism, colonialism, racism and all types of exploitation.

The statement said the two organizations would cooperate in areas of mutual interest including political, cultural, information, economic, social and environment fields.

According to the agreement, both organizations will invite the other to take part in its meetings. The general secretariats of the two organizations have been authorized to implement the accord after consulting each other. They will also set up joint panels to discuss important issues.§ion=0&article=114409&d=17&m=9&y=2008

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