Envoys to meet with OIC

News

Thailand will dispatch three special envoys to meet with the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) following a strongly worded statement from the 57-member body condemning the government’s hard-line policy towards the Muslim-majority deep South, Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said yesterday.

The decision to dispatch the envoys is the government’s latest effort to prevent problems in the restive region from spilling over into the international arena.

The envoys are Charan Maluleem, a government adviser on Islamic affairs, Nissai Vejjajiva, an adviser to the foreign minister, and former ambassador to Tehran Mahadi Wimana. The OIC has appealed to the government to end “persistent bloody acts of violence” against Muslims in southern Thailand.

The appeal was made in a statement that followed a meeting between OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, chairman of the 10th Islamic Summit Conference to be held in Saudi Arabia later this year.

Ihsanoglu expressed “serious dissatisfaction at the situation [in the deep South] which continues to remain bad despite appeals made by the OIC and the international community to the Thai government to end the violations that have claimed the lives of hundreds of people”. Nissai said he considered problems in the South an internal affair, but fell short of saying the OIC has no right to voice its point of view on the subject.

Published on March 01, 2005