Saudi secretary-general of Organization of Islamic Cooperation resigns
DOHAThe Saudi secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) resigned on Oct. 31 for health reasons, according to a statement from the organization.
Iyad Madani, 70, had held the post since 2014. A statement by the IOC said Saudi Arabia had nominated Yusuf al-Othaimeen, a former minister of social affairs, as his replacement, Reuters reported.
The resignation comes two days after Egypt’s foreign minister condemned remarks by Madani that appeared to mock Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The former Saudi minister made the comment last week after he mixed up Sisi’s name with that of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at a conference.
“Mr President Beji Caid al-Sisi. Essebsi sorry. This is a big mistake. I’m sure your fridge has more than water, your excellency,” he told the Tunisian leader, AFP reported.
He was referring to widely derided comments made by Sisi earlier last week in which he claimed that his fridge only had water in it for a decade, seen as a message to Egyptians to bear harsh economic conditions.
Egypt said after the incident that it would be “reviewing its position toward the secretariat of the organization”.
Madani said his remarks “were only based on a sense of humour and were by no means intended to be offensive to the Egyptian leadership,” according to the English-language Saudi daily Arab News.
In a statement late on Oct. 31, Egypt’s foreign ministry welcomed Saudi’s nomination of Othaimeen. It said it would back him in “recognition of the important role played by Saudi Arabia in support of the activities and objectives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.”
The OIC has 57 member states and aims “to safeguard the interests of the Muslim world” and preserve Islamic social and economic values, according to its website.
In 2012 the IOC suspended Syria’s membership on the grounds of President Bashar al-Assad’s suppression of the Syrian revolt.