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ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia, being Chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Monday called for an “Extraordinary Session” of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFMs) to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

Soon after the announcement, Pakistan welcomed the decision and also offered to host the “Extraordinary Session” of the OIC-CFMs on December 17 in Islamabad. “Today, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - the OIC Summit Chair - took the important initiative to request an Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, to consider the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan fully endorses this initiative.

We have also offered to host the meeting, in Islamabad, on 17 December 2021. We are confident that OIC Member States will endorse this offer,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced in a video statement.

Qureshi said that Afghanistan is a founding member of the OIC. “As part of the Islamic Ummah, we are bound by fraternal bonds of amity and brotherhood with the people of Afghanistan,” he added.

“Today, our Afghan brothers and sisters need us more than ever before. As you are aware, Afghanistan currently faces a serious humanitarian situation – millions of Afghans including women and children confront an uncertain future due to shortage of food, medicine, and other essential life supplies. The advent of winter has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis,” he added.

The foreign minister stated that the OIC must step-in to help “our Afghan brethren”.

“We should step-up our collective efforts to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, provide immediate and sustained support to them, and continue to remain engaged with them for the well-being and prosperity of Afghanistan,” he added.

He said that the 1st “Extraordinary Session” of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was held in Islamabad in January 1980 on the situation in Afghanistan. “Next month, we would, once again, gather in Islamabad, to reaffirm our abiding solidarity with and support to the Afghan people.

I am confident that the meeting would consider concrete steps to help address the humanitarian and economic challenges facing Afghanistan. I look forward to welcoming my fellow OIC Foreign Ministers to Islamabad,” Qureshi added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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