OIC appoints special envoy on Kashmir


The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has appointed Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Aldobeay as its special envoy on Jammu and Kashmir, reiterating its support for the legitimate right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people in accordance with UN resolutions, the Foreign Office said on Saturday.

The 14th OIC summit in the holy city of Makkah backed the host, Saudi Arabia, in the face of escalating tensions with Iran and threw its support behind the Palestinians ahead of a US-led peace plan suspected to be skewed in favour of Israel.

The Foreign Office said the summit communique called for expediting establishment of a UN commission of inquiry to investigate grave human rights violations and urged India to allow the commission and other international organisations access to Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

The conference also commended the report of OIC’s Human Rights Commission, highlighting rights abuses in IOK. It welcomed Pakistan’s offer to host 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad in 2021.

The OIC meeting, the third and final Iran-focused summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in Makkah this week, condemned a ‘terrorist attack’ on Saudi Arabia’s oil pumping stations which targeted global oil supplies, according to its communique.

Earlier, addressing the Muslim leaders, Saudi King Salman warned that ‘terrorist’ attacks in the Gulf region could imperil global energy supplies. “We confirm that terrorist actions not only target the kingdom and the Gulf region, but also target the safety of navigation and world oil supplies.”

The summit threw its support behind the Palestinian cause, denouncing any position adopted by an international body that supports prolonging occupation of Palestinian territories, including a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The OIC refused to accept any proposal for peaceful settlement that did not accord with Palestinians’ legitimate inalienable rights. It urged member countries to take ‘appropriate measures’ against countries that move their embassies to Jerusalem.

The summit called for a ‘boycott’ of the countries that have opened diplomatic missions in the city and stressed the importance of amassing support for the budget of the Palestinian government to continue its work.

“The Palestinian cause is the cornerstone of the works of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and is the focus of our attention until the brotherly Palestinian people get all their legitimate rights,” the Saudi monarch said at the summit. “We reaffirm our unequivocal rejection of any measures that would prejudice the historical and legal status of Quds (Jerusalem),” he said.

The OIC summit also refused to accept any decision to change legal and demographic status of Syria’s Golan Heights, especially the US decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the territory, the summit’s communique said.

The member states expressed concern over growing Islamophobia in many parts of the world. Islamophobia “as a contemporary form of racism and religious discrimination continues to grow as is evident by the increase in incidents of religious intolerance, negative stereotyping, and hatred and violence against Muslims”, it added.

The summit also condemned the inhumane situation of Rohingyas, urging a halt to violence. It also stressed that Myanmar’s government has the responsibility to protect its citizens. It urged the US to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The conference called for adoption of a comprehensive strategy to combat Islamophobia, building on proposals made by Pakistan in the OIC Ministerial Executive Committee meeting in March 2019. It commended Pakistan for its generosity and hospitality for hosting Afghan refugees.

The conference also commended the role of the OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), under the chairmanship of the President of Pakistan and encouraged member states for early operationalisation of the OIC Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) agenda 2026.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was notably absent from the OIC summit. Turkey was instead represented by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani was also not present but sent a representative to the summit.

This is the third meeting of Arab leaders the king has held in Makkah this week. On Friday, King Salman convened emergency summits of Gulf and then Arab leaders to discuss drone strikes on Saudi oil installations and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE coast in May.

Riyadh has accused Tehran of ordering the drone strikes, which were claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group. Tehran has denied involvement in either attack.