World Islamic body urges more U.N. action over Gaza

RIYADH – The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which comprises 57 Muslim countries, said on Sunday it would step up action at the United Nations to stop Israel’s blockade of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The Islamic bloc at the United Nations will be charged with taking the appropriate measures to ensure the United Nations plays its role,” a statement said after OIC officials, including Pakistani Foreign Minister Inamul Haque, met in Jeddah.

A slight dampener on the meeting was that few OIC foreign ministers actually took up an OIC call to attend, including Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, suggesting little desire among Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies to rally international action over the issue.

Last month the U.N. Human Rights Council last month criticized “grave violations” by Israel in Gaza, which it has blockaded for several weeks in what it says is a response to rocket attacks by Gaza-based Palestinian militants.

“OIC countries, Islamic Development Bank and private organizations should take action to provide urgent humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people,” it said.

The Saudi-based OIC welcomed a Palestinian Authority offer to take control of Gaza border posts from Egypt and Israel. Palestinians broke security barriers to stock up on supplies in Egypt over the past week.

Islamist group Hamas controls Gaza after fighting last year with the Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas.

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