Heads of some of the most important Muslim countries of the world
began streaming into the Kingdom Monday accepting the invitation
by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to attend a
two-day Islamic solidarity summit that begins in Makkah August 14.
The leaders were accorded red carpet welcome and fitting protocol
on their arrival in Jeddah and Madinah, reported Arab News.
Prominent among those who
arrived yesterday were Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, Malaysian Prime Minister
Najib Razak, Libya’s General National Congress head Mohamed Yousef
El-Magariaf, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Bangladeshi
President Mohammed Zillur Rahman, Senegalese President Macky Sall
and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Foreign ministers of almost all the 57 member states of the
Organization of Islamic Conference were in attendance at the
meeting at the Conference Palace on Monday, the report by Siraj
Wahab in the leading Saudi English daily said.
As the world leaders and their entourages made their way out of
the airports, they headed straight to the various palaces. All the
main roads leading to the Conference Palace in Al-Hamra District
were closed to local traffic.
Securitymen and traffic patrol
vehicles were manning the main streets to ensure a smooth flow of
the leaders’ cavalcades to the palace.
Hundreds of journalists from the across the Muslim world have
descended in Jeddah to cover the conference which has assumed
significance in view of the unprecedented political convulsions in
the Arab world, and especially Syria.
In the first signs of the
Makkah summit succeeding in its express purpose of uniting Muslims
worldwide, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi heaped
fulsome praise on Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah
for convening the Islamic solidarity summit in the heart and
cradle of Islam.
“The summit comes at a timely when there is a dire need to reunite
the Muslim Ummah and to consolidate cohesiveness among Islamic
countries,” he said at the Conference Palace Monday.
“I am here and I feel a.m. at home. I had once lived in Jeddah for
a period of four years (at the OIC),” he said. “The Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia is a sacred country. I wish all success, fortitude
and peace to the Saudi people and the Saudi government.”
On the recent developments in the region, he said: “At the end of
the day, we are sure and trust that the end result will be in the
best interest of the Islamic nation ... We have to appreciate
Saudi Arabia’s proposal to reunite the Islamic nation and to
consolidate Islamic unity and to shun divisionism.”
Iranian President Ahmadinejad also arrived in the Kingdom to take part
in the summit. He went to the holy city of Madinah Monday and
visited the Prophet’s Mosque. Vice President General for the
Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Faleh and a
number of officials received him and his accompanying delegation
at the mosque.
There were reports in some sections of the media that Ahmadinejad
might cancel his visit in view of the devastating earthquake in
“The world today is in a very sensitive situation,” Ahmadinejad
told reporters just before leaving Tehran, according to the Fars
“Different groups are at work and the enemies are actively
pursuing their aims and a great deal of energy is being spent by
Islamic governments and groups on arguing and confronting each
other,” he said adding, “I hope that the summit will focus on increasing
unity and lowering antagonism.”