Open a new page, King tells Afghan dignitaries

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Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH/MAKKAH
— Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman sounded optimistic that the Afghanistan peace initiative of Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would open a new page of security and stability in the war-torn country. “Today, we are optimistic that your efforts would contribute to closing the page of the past and opening a new page in Afghanistan that would help realize the aspirations of the Afghan people for security and stability, and this requires adopting an approach of dialogue, reconciliation and tolerance on the lines of our religion of Islam,” King Salman told Afghan dignitaries attending the two-day conference in Jeddah and Makkah, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The Afghan scholars were received by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace on Wednesday.

In his address, the King said: “You are the best among those who work to serve Islam and Muslims, as well as to unify their words and ranks, and eliminate wars and crises that afflict the Islamic world in addition to the scourges of extremism and terrorism. Almighty Allah honored the Kingdom to serve the Two Holy Mosques and this is what we have always been doing.”

King Salman affirmed that the Kingdom has experienced with the Afghan people their suffering since the beginning of the Afghan crisis and its consequent civil war, whereas the Kingdom has provided humanitarian and economic assistance and exerted continuous political efforts to eliminate division and differences among various Afghan factions. The King thanked them for their efforts and endeavors, wishing the Afghan people every success.

Delivering a speech, on behalf of OIC and the scholars participating in the conference, OIC Secretary General Dr. Yusuf Al-Othaimeen offered his deep thanks and gratitude to the King for directing to host the conference in the Kingdom in pursuit of the wise leadership of the King and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to achieve security and peace in Afghanistan.

Then, the attendees greeted the King. The ceremony was also attended by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, emir of Makkah and advisor to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Minister of Interior Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Saud Bin Naif, and several ministers and senior officials.

The two-day Ulema Conference, which began in Jeddah on Tuesday, ended in Makkah on Wednesday with the adoption of the ‘Makkah Declaration.’ Prince Khaled Al-Faisal patronized the Makkah conference at Al-Diyafah Palace. At the end of the conference, OIC chief Al-Othaimeen said that the declaration represents a legitimate road map for finding peaceful resolution of the Afghan crisis. The declaration called on all the Afghan factions to agree for a ceasefire and start direct peace talks on the basis of the sublime Islamic values of eschewing violence, sedition and division and achieve reconciliation.

“We are urging the Afghan government and the Taliban to agree for a truce and start direct negotiations,” the declaration said while emphasizing that national dialogue is the best way to end the strife.


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