OIC summit on Palestine kicks off in Jakarta


JAKARTA: The 5th Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Palestine and Jerusalem was opened on Sunday morning at the Jakarta Convention Centre, Jakarta.

According to a statement from Indonesia’s foreign ministry, over 500 delegates from 49 OIC member states, four representatives from the so-called Quartet on the Middle East (US, Russia, UN and EU), five UN Security Council representatives, as well as three OIC observer states, confirmed they would attend the summit.

The summit is being held at the request of Palestine after violence escalated in Israel and the occupied territories in recent months over Israel’s restriction of access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

“This summit is expected to push international forums to prioritize the issue of Palestine and Jerusalem as the situation [there] is worrying,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in the statement.

The OIC and Palestine specifically requested Indonesia’s participation, acknowledging that support for Palestinian independence has long been a key part of Indonesia’s foreign policy.  The issue played a prominent role at the high-profile commemorative Asian-African Conference in Bandung last year.

A number of bilateral meetings between President Joko Widodo and his counterparts, as well as between foreign ministers, are scheduled to take place during the summit.