Ihsanoglu to lead OIC's Myanmar delegation
By Hassan Cheruppa
November 11, 2013
JEDDAH — Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu will lead a high-level OIC delegation to Myanmar on Tuesday.
The delegation, which will include seven foreign ministers and senior officials from the OIC member countries, will meet top government officials as well as political leaders of Myanmar.
In their bid to find a lasting solution to the Rohingya Muslim minority in the Buddhist-dominated Asian country, the Muslim leaders will also hold talks with Buddhist parliament members and leaders of Rohingya community, according to OIC sources.
The delegation will also make field visits to the riot-torn regions in the Rakhine region to take stock of the conditions of Muslims living there.
Ihsanoglu said the issue of Rohingya Muslims was one of the most pressing issues he addressed during his nine-year tenure as the secretary-general of the 57-member pan-Islamic body. This is the first time Ihsanoglu is paying a visit to Myanmar. The high-profile visit is one of the major accomplishments of the Turkish diplomat, whose tenure will expire by the end of next month.
“I have been preoccupied with this issue from the very first day until my final weeks at the helm of the OIC. This visit would be a clear and strong message to the Islamic world on how serious the organization is about finding a lasting solution to the Rohingya problem,” he said.
Ihsanoglu also discussed a series of measures the OIC has so far taken to address the issue. “I realized its ramifications from a meeting with President of the Rohingya Solidarity Union Suleiman Hussein in April 2005 and the efforts resulted in May 2011 in the formation of Arakan Rohingya Union, an umbrella body of Rohingya Muslims living in various parts of the world,” he said.