As part of observing the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the United Nations and Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in partnership with the government of Turkey organized a joint International Meeting on the Question of Jerusalem in Ankara, on 12-13 May 2014. The meeting, which aimed to discuss the strengthening of international support for a just and lasting solution of the question of Jerusalem, was inaugurated by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mr. Iyad Bin Amin Madani, OIC Secretary General and Mr. Robert Serry, Representative of the UN Secretary General.
For two days, the Meeting discussed different aspects of the Question of Jerusalem including “The status of Jerusalem in international law”, “The current situation in Jerusalem” as well as “The role of the international community in promoting a just solution”.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message read out by Mr. Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that the political stalemate posed “great risks to the prospects of a two-State solution”, and continued inaction could result in further instability. He also called for Jerusalem to be open and accessible to all.
Mr. Iyad bin Amin Madani, Secretary-General of the (OIC), said that the OIC has been following Israel’s violations in the occupied city of Al-Quds with deep concern, which represent not only aggression against the Palestinian people and their land and sanctuaries, but also blatant defiance of the international community. These violations also pose a threat to the security and stability of the whole region, emphasizing that it an international duty to face up to Israel’s “apartheid” actions. He also emphasized that the situation is now at a “critical political juncture”, concretized in the impasse reached in the peace negotiations after Israel, the occupying power, “shut down all the doors” to any possible progress towards a just and comprehensive political settlement that would ensure security and stability in the region. The immensity of Israeli violations of international law “ command a different brand of international intervention”. He also reiterated OIC’s unlimited support to the Palestinian people in their struggle for regaining their national rights.
Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, likewise, said in his opening remarks that Jerusalem was a great city in which history coincided with metaphysics. “Those who would today get rid of this inheritance are not just acting against the people of Palestine, but against the history of humanity”. Jerusalem was not just a political issue or an area of conflict, but an area of peace, representing the humanitarian conscience as a whole. He also said that unilateral actions in Jerusalem would be dynamite in the Middle East peace process, adding that the United Nations should play a much more active role. He also called upon the international community to keep the question of Jerusalem on the agenda.
The meeting was also attended by a high level Palestinian delegation that included Mr. Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Minister for Waqf and Religious Affairs, Mr. Adnan Husseini, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs in addition to the Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Sheikh Muhammad Hussein.
In its closing session, the Meeting heard addresses from the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Mr. Emrullah İşler, who expressed his appreciation to the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for their cooperation in organizing this extremely important meeting on Jerusalem. The conference had been conducted in a nice atmosphere, enriched by experts and their statements. He described Jerusalem as the “capital of all of mankind”, adding that Jerusalem could not be spoken of from the point of view of catastrophes, without talking about the suffering of Palestinians in light of the occupation. He also emphasized that Turkey would continue to make every effort to guarantee the just position of Palestine that was a member of the international community. International partners, particularly Islamic States, had to continue their support for Palestine in this area.
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