Iraq rejects proposal for OIC force

17 May 2007


ISLAMABAD, May 16: Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Wednesday rejected a Pakistani proposal for a Muslim peacekeeping force, saying more foreign troops were not welcome in Iraq.

Opening a meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference on Tuesday, Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf had raised the idea of a peacekeeping force for Iraq drawn from Muslim nations.

Asked by reporters about the idea on Wednesday, Mr Zebari said the idea had been raised and knocked down before.

“My government’s position is not for welcoming any more troops. We want our troops, the Iraqi troops, to rise up and stand, let’s say to stabilise the situation,” Mr Zebari said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the ongoing meeting is likely to adopt a resolution supporting Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear technology. The three-day foreign ministers’ meeting of the OIC began deliberations on Tuesday.

Mr Mottaki said a draft resolution presented before the meeting supports Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear technology and negotiations for resolving issues without pre-conditions.“This is the substance of the text of the draft resolution that we hope will be adopted here,” he told reporters after meeting his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri.

Mr Kasuri, chairing the conference, reiterated Pakistan’s support of Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear energy under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and called for a diplomatic resolution to Tehran’s nuclear stand-off with the United States.

KASHMIR ISSUE: Mr Kasuri said Pakistan has been engaged in Confidence Building Measures with India to resolve the outstanding dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. He was addressing the OIC Contact Group meeting on Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting was also attended by the OIC Secretary General Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir Ezzat Kamel Mufti, foreign minister of Niger, state minister of Turkey, deputy foreign minister of Saudi Arabia and some representatives of the Kashmiri people.

In his address, Mr Kasuri highlighted the efforts made by Pakistan for a meaningful, constructive and result-oriented dialogue with India for resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The foreign minister briefed the meeting about the Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue process and talked at length about various CBMs. Mr Kasuri said Pakistan had always laid emphasis on the necessity of meaningful, constructive and result-oriented dialogue process with India.

“We have already put in place a number of Jammu and Kashmir-related CBMs, ranging from continuation of ceasefire across LoC, initiation of bus and truck services, opening of crossing points along the LoC, and greater interaction among Kashmiri leadership on both sides as well as common Kashmiris,” he said.

He also mentioned the four-point proposal of President General Musharraf, which focuses on identifying the regions, demilitarisation, self-governance and a joint mechanism, and said they were aimed at alleviating the suffering of Kashmiris.—Agencies