Saudi King Salman 190601
Saudi King Salman, center left, is accompanied by Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, center right, as they enter the Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mekkah, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday, June 1, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Makkah: Leaders of Muslim countries early Saturday gathered at a key Islamic conference in the Saudi holy city of Makkah with the Palestinian problem and terrorism combat taking the centre stage.

Addressing the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Saudi King Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz said that the Palestinian cause is the mainstay of the 57-member bloc.

“Palestine is our prime cause until Palestinians obtain their rights.”

He renewed Saudi Arabia’s rejection of any steps altering the “historical and legal status” of Occupied Jerusalem.

Last year, the US moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Occupied  Jerusalem, sparking anger of Palestinians and the Muslims. Jerusalem is home to Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest. Palestinians want Occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The OIC Secretary General Yousef Bin Ahmad Al Othaimen said that the Palestinian problem tops the organisation’s priorities.

The summit also addresses other issues featuring anti-terror efforts, Islamophobia and the humanitarian situation in the Muslim world including woes of civilians displaced by conflicts.

King Salman called for concerted efforts against terrorism.

"Efforts should be pooled together to combat militancy and terrorism as well as exposing their supporters and drying out their financial resources," he told the event.

He denounced recent attacks against vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the United Arab Emirates and oil facilities inside his country.

“We emphasise that these terrorist and subversive acts target not only the kingdom and the Gulf region, but they also target navigation and energy supplies to the world,” he said.

The OIC gathering was held a day after two Gulf and Arab League leaders met in Makkah and condemned Iran’s meddlesome behaviour in the region.

The OIC summit was convened under the theme “Makkah: Hand in Hand toward the Future”.

Tunisian President Beji Qaid Al Sebsi called at the summit for stronger inter-Muslim links. “The Islamic world is bound together by unity of destiny in a world heading towards cross-border blocs,” Al Sebsi.

Al Othaimen expressed confidence that the Makkah summit, held months before the OIC 50th anniversary, will mark a milestone.

Created in 1969, the organisation is based in the Saudi city of Jeddah.