Zarif Attends OIC Meeting on Palestine

Zarif Attends OIC  Meeting on PalestineZarif Attends OIC  Meeting on Palestine

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took part in the Ministerial Preparatory Meeting to the Fifth Extraordinary OIC Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif in Indonesia on Sunday.

The extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Palestine themed “United for Just Solution” is underway in Jakarta on March 6 and 7, according to the OIC website.

Upon arriving at the Indonesian capital of Jakarta earlier in the day, Zarif told reporters that he praises the Indonesian government for hosting the important meeting at an appropriate time, IRNA reported.

"Iran will reiterate its position regarding the brutal crimes of the Zionist regime against Palestinians and the threats it pose to the Muslim world, based on the principles of Iranian foreign policy," he said.

The summit is being held at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after the escalation of Israeli violence in the occupied territories and restriction imposed on access to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Beit-ul-Moqaddas.

The meeting deliberated on the Jakarta Declaration initiated by Indonesia that contains concrete steps to support the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds, which is to be forwarded to the Monday’s heads of state meeting for final adoption, which Zarif will address on behalf of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that more than 500 delegates from 49 OIC member states, four representatives from the Quartet on the Middle East (United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union), five UN Security Council representatives, as well as three observer countries have confirmed their participation.

“This high-level summit is expected to push international forums to prioritize the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the situation [there] is worrying,” the statement said.

The statement said the Indonesian government was also concerned with the latest political and security developments in the Middle East, which are diverting attention from the Palestinian issue.

The OIC was founded in 1969 in response to an arson attack on the al-Aqsa Mosque. The group, which aims to promote Islamic unity and serves as a voice of the Muslim world, traditionally holds summits every three years.

  Indonesia Ties on Agenda

Zarif said in Jakarta that he will also hold separate meetings with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi and President Joko Widodo.

The minister said that while Tehran-Jakarta ties experienced a significant boost last year, he will take the opportunity to further develop them in discussions with Indonesian officials.

Ahead of the meetings, Iran’s Ambassador in Jakarta Valiollah Mohammadi said in an interview with Tasnim News Agency on Saturday that he hopes the value of trade exchanges between the two countries would rise to $2 billion.

“Political ties and mutual cooperation between Iran and Indonesia are very good and economic relations have been recently reinforced with the implementation of JCPOA [the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers],” Mohammadi said.

“It is hoped that we will witness the results and benefits of the developments in the two countries’ ties soon.”

Mohammadi hoped that with the removal of anti-Iran sanctions, the value of economic exchanges between Tehran and Jakarta, which stood at $2 billion in 2011 but dropped to $300 million last year, would rise to $2 billion again.

On the sidelines of the OIC ministerial meeting, Zarif held separate talks with his Turkish and Tajik counterparts.

In the meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, they exchanged views about issues ranging from bilateral ties to the latest developments in the Middle East.

In another meeting with his Tajik counterpart Sirodjidin Aslov, Zarif explored avenues for closer cooperation between Tehran and Dushanbe in various spheres.

Heading a large economic delegation, Zarif was in Jakarta on the first leg of a six-country, 11-day Asia-Pacific tour that he began on Saturday.

In the next stages, the foreign minister is expected to visit Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia to discuss expansion of political and economic ties, apart from reviewing efforts against extremism and terrorism.