US Ready to Work with Iran

A03860314.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Sada Cumber, American first envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that the US administration is ready to work with Iran, though he had no plans to meet with Iranian officials at Dakar.Cumber, a Texas-based Pakistani-born businessman, is in Senegal to attend the OIC meeting. Iran said that the OIC should not have welcomed a representative of a country whose policies have threatened many of its members. But OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said he (Cumber) could only help Muslims – by helping the US understand it.

Cumber told AP that the OIC counts among its 57 members many nations who have condemned US policies in the Middle East, including Iran, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iraq, where American troops have battled insurgents in a bloody war for years.

“The opportunity is there right now. We need stability in that region,” Cumber said.

“America understands very clearly the needs of Iran because Iran is a large country and they have needs of energy to bring growth and prosperity of the country,” he said. “And once this issue of nuclear challenge is resolved, the US is prepared to work with Iran…,” he added.

Cumber calls his campaign the soft power of the US – an effort to find common ground with Muslim nations by championing universal values the US holds dear like religious tolerance and freedom of speech. But the boundaries of freedom of speech are one of the main debates at the summit, with many members saying that Western countries have taken that liberty to the extreme with political cartoons and inflammatory political statements.

Meanwhile, less than a month after declaring itself independent of Serbia, Kosovo, which doesn’t have a foreign ministry or embassies abroad, is lobbying the Islamic world for recognition, making its first major international outing at a summit of the Muslim states.

“The main reason we are here is to get support for our independence,” said Enver Hoxhaj, the education minister who is leading the two-man mission. The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference is expected to issue a statement formally recognizing Kosovo which has sent letters to each of the 192 UN member states asking for recognition. So far, Kosovo has been recognized by 27 of the 192 states, according to a list on the aptly named private website. Kosovo is over 90 percent Muslim. “We happen to belong to the Muslim religion,” says Hoxhaj.

Many of the countries supporting Kosovo’s bid are Islamic republics.

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