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The Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has decided to suspend the membership of Syria in the grouping, Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry stated.
“The summit decides to freeze the membership of Syria in the OIC,” read the ministry’s press release, which was made available to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who led the Indonesian delegation to the summit, said in the release that the decision by the 57-member organization was “in accordance with Indonesia’s appeals at the summit”.
“State leaders of the OIC members also asked the UN Security Council to take concrete, constructive, and immediate efforts to end violence and bloodshed in the Middle Eastern country,” Marty said.
The summit, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al Saud from Tuesday to Wednesday, was aimed at discussing the latest situation in certain parts of the Islamic world, such as the tensions in Syria and Palestine, as well as the Rohingya in Myanmar.
Also addressed at the summit according to the release was the recent political crisis in Mali.
“Violence and killing must be stopped. The international community, including the UN, must not stay idle because the civil war in Syria has resulted in a humanitarian tragedy,” Marty said.
The violence has displaced 1.5 million people inside Syria and forced many to flee abroad, with 150,000 registered refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, UN figures show.
The decision of the OIC is symbolic and will have little practical effect on Syria, but it will reinforce President Bashar al-Assad’s isolation from much of the Sunni-majority Islamic world.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that a bomb exploded in central Damascus near several military buildings and a hotel housing UN observers, wounding three people and sending a pillar of black smoke into the sky above the Syrian capital.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told reporters at the scene that the bombing proved “the criminal and barbaric nature of those who carry out these attacks — and their backers in Syria and abroad”.
Firefighters were dousing a fuel tanker set ablaze when the bomb detonated at 8.30 a.m. (0530 GMT) in a car park behind the hotel. Ash and dust covered white UN vehicles parked nearby.
UN emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos, on a mission to seek more access for aid deliveries,
was meeting European Union officials in Damascus when the bomb exploded.
The ministry’s release further stated that the summit managed to produce a joint communiqué and OIC resolution with regards to the situation not only in Syria, but also in Palestine, Mali and with regard to Rohingya ethnics in Myanmar, the release stated.
On the Rohingya, the summit regretted the violence against the Muslim ethnics and agreed to push the Myanmarese government to immediately carry out rehabilitation processes as well as reconciliation in the Rakhine region.
The summit also supported the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s role in helping Myanmar carry out its reformation and democratization, including addressing the Rohingya issue.
“Indonesia will continue to push for the recognition and respect of the basic rights of civilians of all communities in Myanmar, including Rohingya, through integrated processes of reformation and democratization,” Marty said.
Indonesia, along with Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Bangladesh, also managed to ask other OIC member states to help constructively push for democratic settlements in Myanmar, the release said.
On Palestine, the summit agreed to support Palestine as a full member of the UN, and to ask all UN member states to support the struggle of the Palestinian people, it added.
“The struggle of the Palestinians is also the struggle of the OIC, as well as Indonesia. Hence, we must continue to reject any form of violation of international law which has been repeatedly demonstrated by Israel,” Marty said.
Israel recently denied entry of several foreign ministers, including Marty, who wanted to attend a Non-Aligned Movement meeting in the West Bank.