Iran focused summit: OIC supports Palestinians, condemns attack on Saudi Arabia

MAKKAH: The 14th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Saturday threw its support behind Palestinians ahead of a US-led peace plan suspected to be skewed in favour of Israel, as regional allies rallied around Saudi Arabia over tensions with Iran.

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Gulf and Arab leaders at the OIC talks, the third and final Iran-focused summit in the holy city of Makkah, denounced the controversial US move to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The summit, marked by the notable absence of Iran and Turkey’s leaders, also urged OIC members to “boycott” countries that have opened diplomatic missions in the city.

Trump broke with decades of bipartisan policy to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017.

In its final statement the OIC said, it opposes all illegal Israeli measures aimed at changing facts in occupied Palestinian territories including Jerusalem and undermining the two-state solution.

The OIC also refused to accept any proposal for a peaceful settlement that did not accord with Palestinians’ legitimate inalienable rights, the final statement said.

The statement comes as Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner prepares to roll out economic aspects of his long-awaited Middle East peace plan at a conference in Bahrain later this month.

The plan, dubbed by Trump as the “deal of the century”, has already been rejected by the Palestinians, who say Trump’s policies have shown him to be blatantly biased in favour of Israel.

The 57-member OIC also backed Saudi Arabia over escalating tensions with Iran, as King Salman warned that “terrorist” attacks in the Gulf region could imperil global energy supplies,

The remark came after sabotage attacks damaged four vessels, two of them Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE and twin Yemeni rebel drone attacks shut down a key Saudi oil pipeline.

“We confirm that terrorist actions not only target the kingdom and the Gulf region but also target the safety of navigation and world oil supplies,” the king told OIC member states.

Tehran has strongly denied involvement in any of the incidents.

In a tweet just before the start of the summit, the king vowed to confront “aggressive threats and subversive activities”.

“Undermining the security of the kingdom effectively undermines the security of the Arab and Islamic world,” said OIC Secretary-General Yousef bin Ahmed al-Othaimeen, voicing solidarity that was shared by other members.

In two previous back-to-back summits on Friday, Gulf and Arab allies similarly threw their support behind Saudi Arabia, which drew accusations from Iran of “sowing division”.

The summits came after Trump’s hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday that Iranian naval mines were “almost certainly” responsible for the damage to the four ships off the United Arab Emirates on May 12.

The findings of a five-nation inquiry into what happened have yet to be released.

Tehran dismissed Bolton’s accusation as “laughable” and accused him of pursuing “evil desires for chaos in the region”.

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