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Islamic States Urged To Foster Peace In Hotspots


Annan Urges Islamic States To Help Foster Peace In Global Hotspots

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged senior officials representing Muslim countries to back Iraq’s interim government, work for a comprehensive settlement to the Middle East conflict and press Sudan to halt attacks in the country’s Darfur region.

In a message delivered today by his Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, to the Ministerial Conference of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), in Istanbul, Mr. Annan said all have an interest in helping Iraq to overcome its many challenges.

While appealing for a favourable response to the Interim Government's request for support, he pledged the UN’s continued reconstruction, development and humanitarian assistance, “from both within and outside Iraq, as circumstances permit.”

Concerning the Middle East, he condemned Israel’s continued extrajudicial killings, use of disproportionate force in densely populated areas, construction of a West Bank barrier and wide-scale house demolitions, and called on the country “to refrain from further violations of international law.”

He also noted that some Palestinian groups continue to carry out suicide bombings and other attacks that fuel hatred and fear. “We should all strongly condemn terrorism, wherever and whenever it occurs; no cause can justify it,” he said, calling on the Palestinian Authority to take effective measures to curb violence and combat terror.

Israel's stated intention to withdraw from the Gaza Strip could possibly help end the violence, he said, urging continued focus on achieving a comprehensive settlement.

Regarding Sudan, he noted that more than a million Muslims have been forced from their homes in the Darfur region. “I urge you all to persuade your Sudanese brothers to neutralize and disarm the brutal Janjaweed militia; allow humanitarian supplies and equipment to reach the population without further delays; and ensure that displaced people can return home in safety,” he said.

Warning that further delay could cost hundreds of thousands of lives, he said, “Please do whatever you can to help end this appalling suffering and to bring a greater sense of urgency to the political negotiations.”

The message also addressed the prevailing climate of religious intolerance. “We must not allow ourselves, out of fear or anger, to treat people whose faith or culture differs from ours as enemies,” Mr. Annan said.

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