Pakistan to attend OIC meeting in Mecca

Imran Khan set to attend meeting where the US's Middle East 'peace plan' is expected to be on the agenda.

    OIC leaders and representatives pose for a group photo during the Kazakhstan Summit summit two years ago [File: Reuters]
    OIC leaders and representatives pose for a group photo during the Kazakhstan Summit summit two years ago [File: Reuters]

    Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the 14th summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Saudi city of Mecca, its foreign minister has said.

    "The OIC session is very important to discuss the Middle East conflict and also the proposed peace plan to defuse the situation," Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters on Tuesday, referring to the United States's so-called "deal of the century" blueprint that is expected to be unveiled next month at a meeting in Bahrain.

    The plan, spearheaded by US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and US envoy Jason Greenblatt, is meant to revive the stalled and dormant peace process between Israel and Palestinian leaders.

    The OIC summit, which is scheduled to take place on May 31, will address "current issues in the Muslim world" and "recent developments in a number of OIC member states", the official agenda states.

    Titled Together for the Future, the summit is due to be hosted by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and aims at developing a unified stance of Muslim leaders on rising tension in the Gulf region.

    Iran, which is also an OIC member, has not yet confirmed whether it will attend the meeting.

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    Saudi Arabia and its allies have repeatedly accused Iran of interfering in the affairs of other countries, including Bahrain, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, by supporting and arming fighters there.

    "Unity and coordination of positions are necessary at this critical time, and Riyadh ... is qualified to play that role," the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted last week.

    But the kingdom's aim of a unified Islamic, Arab and Gulf position is likely to be difficult to achieve.

    Qatar has grown closer to Iran while Kuwait has expressed concern over Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz.

    Oman, which has good ties with both Iran and the US, has said it and other parties "seek to calm tensions" between the two countries.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies