Tue, 25 Feb 2003

President to attend OIC forum on Iraq

President Megawati Soekarnoputri has expressed a willingness to participate in an emergency meeting on the Iraq crisis called by the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Qatar on March 5.

Foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said on Monday that Indonesia had been invited by Qatar, which currently chairs the pan-Islamic body, to the meeting.

"We have responded to the invitation and we will actively participate in the meeting. But the final say will depend on the results of the informal consultation meeting of the OIC on Wednesday," Marty said on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The movement includes in its ranks 50 of the 57 members of the OIC. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the summit's host, has called a special "informal" OIC meeting on Iraq for the day after the NAM forum.

A quorum of 38 countries is needed to call an emergency summit.

An Indonesian diplomat told The Jakarta Post that Megawati had insisted on her attendance at the OIC meeting, considering the organization's pivotal role in regards to the Iraq issue. Indonesia opposes any unilateral action against Iraq.

"However, we are still waiting for confirmation from other countries to achieve the quorum," the diplomat said.

A Qatari official said over the weekend that 27 countries had so far agreed to the OIC extraordinary summit.