Islamic group to address Nagorno-Karabakh dispute
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyThe Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is to establish a working group in an effort to settle the long-running conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said April 12.
The OIC will be more decisive on the occupied Karabakh topic, Çavuşoğlu told journalists after a meeting of OIC foreign ministers in Istanbul.
He said Turkey urged member states to take part in discussions on the conflict, which escalated earlier this month, resulting in the deaths of around 90 military personnel.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war over the mountainous territory, where a population of mostly ethnic Armenians lives, in the early 1990s, during which thousands were killed on both sides and hundreds of thousands were displaced.
The region was seized by Armenian rebels from Azerbaijan in a war which ended with an inconclusive truce in 1994. The territory is now ruled by Armenia-backed separatist authorities who claim independence and are backed by Yerevan but are not recognized by any state.
The sides have reached a cease-fire, though violations have been reported from both sides.
A meeting of IOC foreign ministers has been taking place ahead of a wider summit on April 14 and April 15, during which heads of states of the organization’s 56 member states will take part.
During the summit, Turkey will be handed the OIC chairmanship for the next two years.
Meanwhile, OIC Secretary General Iyad Emin Medeni revealed a strategic action plan for 2025.
The 10-year road map consists of 107 goals on issues such as peace, security, the struggle against extremism, finance and investment, good governance and human rights.
Medeni said the organization would create contact groups to liaise on disputes between member states, as well as the occupied Karabakh conflict, and called on Hamas and Fatah to put their differences aside to pursue legal status for Jerusalem and Palestine.
On Turkey-Egypt relations, he hoped to “ease the tension between states… I’m sure that we will come to a new and positive phase after the summit.”
The OIC summit is expected to discuss problems in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq and Azerbaijan.
Founded in 1969, the OIC consists of 56 member states and calls itself the “collective voice of the Islamic world.”