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Friday, August 04, 2006

MUSLIM SUMMIT WARNS OF 'CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS'

Muslim leaders demanded an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah yesterday at an emergency meeting in Malaysia, where Iran's hard-line president said the solution was the obliteration of the Jewish state.

Key leaders in the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, including Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey, warned that Israel's warfare would stoke Muslim radicalism and breed new terrorists, and sought a UN investigation into possible Israeli human rights violations in Lebanese and Palestinian territories.

The Organization voiced solidarity with the Lebanese people "in their legitimate and heroic resistance against the Israeli aggression," in a declaration issued after the summit.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the meeting that Israel "is an illegitimate regime" without a legal basis for existence.

Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented," he said.

In their declaration, the leaders demanded the UN Security Council "fulfill its responsibility...without any further delay be deciding on and enforcing an immediate and unconditional comprehensive cease-fire."

"We hold Israel responsible for the loss of lives and suffering...and demand that Israel compensate (Lebanon) and its people for the losses sustained resulting from Israeli aggression," the declaration said.

Malaysia, which chairs the OIC, rallied presidents, prime ministers and policy-makers of 17 key Muslim nations for the one-day meeting to articulate their opposition to Israel's attacks.

Ahmadinejad, who has drawn international condemnation with previous calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, said the Middle East would be better off "without the existinence of the Zionist regime." He said Israel was trying to "plunder the wealth in the region in order to dominate."

He accused the U.S. of trying to use Israel to conrol the Middle East and its oil wealth, saying the attacks in Lebanon were "a pre-planned program."

"Today the Americans are after the greater Middle East," Ahmadinejad said. "The Zionist regime is used to reach this objective. The sole existence of this regime is for invasion and attack."

In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev noted the ties between Ahmadinejad's regime and Hezbollah.

"Our operation in Lebanon is designed to neutralize one of the long arms of Iran---Hezbollah," Regev said. "Hezbollah is their proxy, being used as an instrument of Tehran to advance their extremist agenda, and a blow to Hezbollah is a blow to Iranian interests and a blow to all extremist jihadist forces in the region."

Other Muslim leaders at the meeting did not echo Ahmadinejad's call, or comment on his speech directly.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the fighting has caused OIC countries to "fear a new wave of angry people might join the ranks of terrorists," and called for a UN-backed force to stabilize the situation.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who leads the world's most populous Muslim nation, said the turmoil could bring the international community "just one step away to that ultimate nightmare: a clash of civilizations."

"This war must stop, or it will radicalize the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today," he warned.


BREAKINGNEWS.IE

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