CAIRO: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) leaders met on Thursday for the second and final day of a summit dominated by the Syrian conflict which has divided the Muslim world along sectarian lines.
The closed-door meeting of half of the OIC's 57 members started at around mid-morning, officials said, with a final press conference expected when the meeting wraps up in the evening.
A draft resolution on Syria, seen by AFP, calls for a “serious dialogue” between the Syrian opposition and government officials “not directly involved in oppression”.
Foreign ministers of Egypt, Iran and Turkey met on Syria on the summit's sideline, a day after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi held talks with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Abdullah Gul, diplomat said.
“The process is still ongoing,” Mohammad Akhoundzadeh, a deputy Iranian foreign minister, told reporters.
At Wednesday's meeting, Morsi had urged Ahmadinejad whose country is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main regional backer, to switch allegiances and support the opposition.
The leader of the Syrian opposition's main umbrella group, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, has expressed willingness to negotiate with Syria's Vice President Faruq al-Sharaa, who has kept a low profile in the nearly 23-month conflict.
Morsi in an address to the summit on Wednesday urged Syria's fractious opposition to unite, while warning Assad's regime to “draw lessons from history” and listen to its people's demands.
He also warned against inter-Muslim “sectarian strife” that could, “God prevent, achieve what the enemies of the (Muslim) nation have failed to achieve.”
The Syrian conflict, in which majority Sunni-led rebels are trying to oust the minority Alawite-dominated regime of Assad, has further hardened longstanding sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shias
Shia Iran is the main backer of Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of the sect, while Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt strongly back the rebels.
Morsi's spokesman Yassir Ali said that Ahmadinejad, the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since the 1979 Islamic revolution, was told on Wednesday that Iran's “interests in the Arab world are tied to supporting the Syrian people”.
In an interview with Egyptian state television late on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said he wanted the Syrian opposition and regime to negotiate “a solution to the crisis, through mutual understanding.”
The talks should lead to “free elections, and the Syrian people are the ones who decide Syria's fate,” said Ahmadinejad.