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Iran calls for emergency OIC summit to discuss Iraq crisis

Tehran, Aug 20, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami here on Friday called on member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to meet in an emergency summit to try to find solutions to the deepening Iraqi crisis.

Khatami told the current OIC Chairman Abdullah Ahmad Badawi over phone that the Iraqi interim government is in a difficult situation vis-a-vis the crisis in the holy city of Najaf, and stressed that immediate action must be taken to end the escalating violence in that city.

He said the Muslim world and regional countries are gravely concerned with the deterioration in conditions in Iraq.

"What is happening in Iraq is a spiritual and human catastrophe and immediate action must be taken to stop the spread of the catastrophe, particularly in Najaf," Khatami told Badawi, who is also Malaysia's prime minister.

"Tehran has always called for security and stability to be restored to Iraq so that this country can enjoy the status it deserves."

The Iranian president expressed regret that fighting continues in Najaf and that US troops are continuing to bombard the holy shrine of Imam Ali (AS) inspite of the fact that residents of the city have expressed their desire for peace and have announced they will accept the conditions for a ceasefire.

"Allowing these conditions to continue and keeping silent in the face of these events will create grater problems for us," Khatami warned.

"The interim Iraqi government is now in a difficult stage...A peaceful resolution of the crisis would have increased the people's trust in the interim government but this never happened."

Khatami expressed the hope Badawi would get in touch as soon as he can with OIC leaders and set the stage for measures to be adopted to help defuse the crisis.

Badawi, for his part, said Iran and Malaysia share common viewpoints on the issue of Iraq, adding that he would try to discuss the current situation in the violence-rocked country with OIC leaders.

Highlighted the urgency of finding a solution to avert the catastrophe in Najaf, he stressed that the OIC will use all means available to stop the massacre at and destruction of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (AS).

Khatami's call for an emergency summit of the OIC to discuss the Iraq issue follows a similar move of Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi who, on Wednesday, called on Iraq's neighbors to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the current situation in Iraq.

... Payvand News - 8/20/04 ... --

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