Gargash: Malaysian summit attendees cannot ‘rise up’ without Arab presence

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This handout from Malaysia's Department of Information taken and released on Dec.19, 2019 shows Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (3rd L), Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (4th L), Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (5th L), Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah (6th L), Malaysia's Queen Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah (6th R), Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali (5th R), wife of Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Emine Erdogan (4th R), wife of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (3rd R) and Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (R) posing for a photo before the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. AFP
This handout from Malaysia's Department of Information taken and released on Dec.19, 2019 shows Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (3rd L), Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (4th L), Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (5th L), Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah (6th L), Malaysia's Queen Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah (6th R), Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali (5th R), wife of Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Emine Erdogan (4th R), wife of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (3rd R) and Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (R) posing for a photo before the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. AFP

DUBAI/KUALA LUMPUR — UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Friday reiterated Saudi Arabia’s stance on the Malaysian summit in Kuala Lumpur, saying that the meeting was the wrong forum to discuss matters of importance to the Muslim world.

“Is it possible for the Islamic world to rise up in the absence of the Arab presence?... The obvious answer is no, because polarization, separation, and prejudice have never been and will never be a solution,” Gargash wrote on Twitter.

While all 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were invited to the four-day summit in Kuala Lumpur, around 20 countries, including Iran and Turkey, sent their delegates.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia refused to send delegates to the meeting.

During a phone call with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday, King Salman reaffirmed that holding meetings outside the OIC was against the interest of the Muslim world, and that issues relating to the member nations should be discussed through the organization.

The OIC has often acted as the collective voice for Muslim countries on issues of common concern.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s decision to opt out of a four-day summit was due to “time and efforts that were needed to address the concerns of major Muslim countries [due to] possible division [of] Ummah,” the spokeswoman for the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The statement comes after several Turkish media outlets quoted Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday as saying that Saudi Arabia had hung a economic threat on Prime Minister Imran Khan it Pakistan participated.

“We see Saudi Arabia issuing economic threats to Pakistan,” the Turkey-based TRT World news channel quoted Erdogan as saying. The Daily Sabah, a Turkish newspaper, also quoted Erdogan as saying, “unfortunately, we see that Saudi Arabia pressures Pakistan.”

The Kingdom’s embassy in Islamabad said in a statement on Saturday that the allegations are “baseless and fake.”

The Saudi embassy said it “stresses that these false reports are already denied by the nature of solid brotherly relations [between the two countries], and their agreement on the importance of [maintaining] the unity of the Islamic nation, [and] maintaining the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).”

In a thinly veiled criticism at the start of the four-day summit, OIC Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen said such gatherings would divide Muslims.

"It is not in the interest of an Islamic nation to hold summits and meetings outside the framework of the (OIC), especially at this time when the world is witnessing multiple conflicts," Al-Othaimeen told Sky News Arabia, without directly naming Malaysia.

He added, "Any weakening of the OIC platform is a weakening of Islam and Muslims."

On Saturday, it was revealed by Mahathir at the end of the summit that it was important for the Muslim world to be self-reliant to face future threats. — Agencies


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