Islamic Summits

The idea of a « Conference of Heads of State » of the Islamic countries was launched at the 3rd Arab Summit held in Casablanca in 1965.
It was taken up by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia who supported it in order to « renew the links between Muslim countries, look after the safeguard of the Holy Places of Islam and fight against foreign ideologies » but it met with opposition from the Egyptian President Nasser who saw it as an instrument against progressist Arab states. It was only after the Egyptian defeat of 1967 which led to the occupation of Jerusalem and to the arson of the Al-Aqsa mosque that the project took off.

In between the Summit Conferences, the « Islamic Conferences » bring together the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) member states to consider the means for implementing the general policy of the Organization.

1st Summit: RABAT, 1969

25 participants. All Islamic countries attending this conference did not break their diplomatic relations with Israel as the Arab countries had hoped but the Summit asked for the return to the statu quo ante of June 1967 concerning Jerusalem and called for support to the Palestinian cause. It was also decided to create the OIC.

2nd Summit: LAHORE, 1974

37 partipants among which all the Arab League member states. Besides the Middle East problem, the Summit raised the issue of aid to the poorest Islamic countries.

3rd Summit: TAEF, 1981

38 participants and more than 20 observers (absent: Egypt and Afghanistan, both suspended, as well as Libya and Iran). Inaugurated in Mecca, it held its meeting in Taef. The main items were the Middle East conflict and the fight against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

4th Summit: CASABLANCA, 1984

42 participants. Iran boycotted the meeting while Egypt and Afghanistan were still suspended. The debates focussed on the reintegration of Egypt which was finally accepted.

5th Summit: KUWAIT, 1987

44 participants. Afghanistan was still suspended and Iran boycotted the meeting as it wanted to find a solution to the Iran-Iraq war. Several pro-Iranian organisations had threatened to disrupt the meeting.

6th Summit: DAKAR, 1991

45 participants. Iraq boycotted the meeting. The Summit reflected the divisions that resulted from Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Twelve Heads of State did not attend but were represented, reportedly to register protest at the presence of Jordan and the PLO which had given support to Iraq.
In spite of disagreements between the members, it was decided to cease OIC’s support for PLO’s Jihad in the Occupied Territories. The proposal, made by the PLO itself, represented an attempt to further the peace process.

7th Summit: CASABLANCA, 1994

The Summit concentrated on the Bosnian issue: it i.a. asked for an armed intervention against the Serbs in Bosnia and established an aid fund for the Bosnian Muslims.

It also condemned terrorism as a political instrument. In an attempt to control Muslim extremist groups, the participants adopted a « Code of Conduct for Combating International Terrorism » which notably commits States to refrain from direct support or participation in acts of terrorism.

Finally, the OIC supported the decision by Iraq to recognize Kuwait, but called for its compliance with all the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

8th Summit: TEHERAN, 1997

All the OIC members attended. The participants adopted a firm position towards Israel and regretted the military cooperation between Turkey and Israel.

They also asked for a bigger role for women in the Muslim societies and stressed the necessity to strengthen the civil society itself.

This Summit was a mediatic and diplomatic success for Iran which renewed ties with the Arab countries (in particular Egypt and Saudi Arabia).

9th Summit: DOHA, 2000

A special session of the Summit was devoted to the Intifada Al-Aqsa. Kings and Heads of State re-affirmed their solidarity with Palestinian people and demanded for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on Israel’s implementation of the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.

The Conference emphasized the impossibility of resolving the Afghan problem by military means and called on the Afghan parties to the conflict to stop hostilities and cooperate with the aim of setting up a representative, broad-based, multiethnic government.

Participants stressed the need to respect the security and territorial integrity of both Kuwait and Iraq.

As far as economical affairs is concerned, the Copnference stressed the need for regional and sub-retional cooperation as well as the necessity to establish an Islamic Common Market, including a Free Trade Zone.