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ABU DHABI: The UAE on Saturday reaffirmed its demands that Iran stop meddling in the region and interfering in the internal affairs of countries.

Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the Charter of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) affirms commitment to respect the security, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the member states and believes in the necessity of resolving existing and emerging litigations and conflicts through negotiation, mediation and reconciliation by adopting diplomatic solutions based on the international law.

“We, therefore, express our deep concern over Iran’s ongoing political, military and cultural intervention in other countries’ affairs, which undermine security and stability and flare up sectarian conflicts,” Shaikh Abdullah, also chairman of the 46th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, told a press conference held at the Emirate Palace.

Answering a question from Gulf News, Shaikh Abdullah said: “We in the UAE call on Iran to review its policies and strategic vision and choose between being a catalyst for peace and stability or a cause for chaos, corruption and destruction.”

Collective position

Shaikh Abdullah said the Muslim countries renew their collective position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, expressing concern regarding the danger of terrorist groups which threaten the stability, security and territorial integrity of member countries.

“The Muslim countries reaffirmed their position to combat all forms of discrimination and hatred, reject hate speech and criminalise discrimination between individuals and groups, based on religion, belief, rite, faith, sect, race, colour or ethnic origin,” Shaikh Abdullah said.

He said Muslim nations reaffirmed that the Palestinian issue is central to the region.

“We reiterated our position to strive to reach a comprehensive and permanent solution and to establish an independent Palestinian state according to the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jurasalem as its capital, in keeping with decisions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Shaikh Abdullah said it was a historic moment for the OIC and for India being invited as a Guest of Honour for the first time.

“By inviting India as a Guest of Honour, the OIC sent a very positive message that it looks forwards to strengthening relations with India and to embrace it into the Organisation. We are not there yet, but, it was a historic moment for both the OIC and India,” Shaikh Abdullah said.

Shaikh Abdullah declined to comment on the so-called deal of century or the US peace plan, saying it was premature to speak about something we have not yet seen or something hypothetical.

On Syria’s return to the Arab League, Shaikh Abdullah said this needs a resolution by the league, which has not been presented or taken as yet.

Yousuf Al Othaimeen, OIC secretary-general, said a resolution for an endowment has been set up to offset any deficit in the budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

OIC Abu Dhabi Declaration issued

Muslim nations praised the initiative of the UAE in holding the Human Fraternity meeting in Abu Dhabi with the participation of the Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, according to the Abu Dhabi Declaration issued by the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on Saturday.

The OIC final statement also praised the initiative of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to name the year 2019 as a Year of Tolerance, and decided to mark March 11 each year as a Day of Tolerance in all OIC member countries.

The Muslim nations welcomed the positive initiative undertaken by the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to hand over the Indian pilot as a gesture of goodwill to de-escalate tensions in the region.

The OIC final communique also called upon member countries and concerned organisations — considering the slogan of this session “Fifty Years of Islamic Cooperation: a road map to prosperity and development” — to exert sustained efforts to implement the OIC 2025 Programme of Action to increase trade development and technological transfer and provide a business and investment-friendly development, develop infrastructure and encourage member states to implement government processes to foresee the future as part of strategic planning in the sectors of health, education, development and environment and ensure the alignment of current government policies, including national skills and establishing partnerships, and launching research reports about the future for various sectors.