The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on Thursday expressed "grave concern over the current situation in Iraq" and "strong condemnation of heinous acts of terrorism" against Iraqi civilians, places of worship, holy sites and public places.

A statement issued after an emergency meeting of foreign ministers and senior officials stressed "the importance of the United Nations in playing a central role to establish peace, security and stability in Iraq."

"In this regard, we urge the Security Council to adopt a resolution in due course which will effectively help the restoration of sovereignty and full independence to Iraqi people and empower the United Nations with the necessary mandate and authority to ensure the achievement of this goal."

The 57-member OIC called upon governments and international financial institutions to provide "the full range of loans and other form of assistance" to rebuild Iraq's war-ravaged economy.

'Smooth transfer'

They welcomed the 30 June deadline for US-led forces to transfer political power to an Iraqi interim government and called on occupation troops to ensure that the process would be smooth.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who chaired the meeting, told reporters that the UN could not play a secondary role in a conflict situation such as that in Iraq.

He said UN participation would encourage more countries to invest in Iraq's reconstruction process.

Thirteen members holding key positions on various committees of the OIC are represented at the conference by ministers or senior officials.

They are the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, Senegal, Guinea and Sudan. OIC secretary-general Abdelwahed Belkeziz is also present.