BEIRUT: Iraq said today [Sept 22] it is boycotting the Islamic summit meeting at Rabat because the organising committee had been unable to give guarantees Iraq considered vital.

Baghdad Radio quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying one proposed guarantee requested thorough preparation to ensure the success of the conference — including agreement on an agenda and measures, “necessary to face Israeli aggression”. Another Iraqi demand was that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) should be allowed to present its armed struggle programme to the Muslim Heads of State. “The participation of the PLO is vital because the Palestine people have the legitimate right in deciding the future of their homeland,” the official was quoted as saying.

According to the radio, the Iraqi official said that his Government had conveyed its point of view to the Government of Morocco, asserting that the date set by the preparatory committee was inappropriate as it conflicted with the United Nations General Assembly session in which most Muslim Foreign Ministers were participating.

The Iraqi Government had proposed that the Muslim Foreign Ministers should meet in New York today to discuss an agenda and set a date for a summit if they then considered a summit was necessary.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2019