Kharrazi Warns against Israel’s Taking Advantage of Anti-Terror War
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi met on Sunday with top Egyptian leaders and urged the United States not to use the war against terror to help its ally Israel, while warning of the growing risk of a clash between the West and Islam, reported AFP.
"We must warn America and others not to exploit this matter for its interests or the interests of its allies like Israel," Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said during his visit to Egypt.
Kharrazi met with leaders of both Egypt and the Cairo-based Arab League to prepare a meeting of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to discuss US calls for a global war on terror after the September 11 attacks.
Iran's top diplomat cautioned the West to deal even-handedly with the fight against terror, and pledged his country's support for a UN-coordinated response to the September 11 terrorism.
"How can the United States lead the international campaign to fight terrorism when it supports Israel and Israeli terrorism?" he asked.
Kharrazi said after talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Ahmed Maher, that the two countries "totally agree on the means to deal with terrorism and the roots of terrorism." Maher also spoke of "total agreement."
"We must uproot it, and we must not have double standards regarding terrorism," Kharrazi told reporters.
"There must be a distinction between terrorism and the legitimate right of people to resist occupiers and occupation," he said.
"The Muslim world cannot close its eyes to terrorist actions led by Israel and cannot equate terrorism with attempts by people under occupation to recover their land," he added.
Kharrazi, speaking earlier after talks with Amr Moussa, secretary general of the 22-member Arab League, said the OIC needed to present "a very clear-cut communiqué to express our views" when it meets in Qatar.
An OIC official said Sunday the Doha meeting would take place on October 10, rather than October 9 as previously announced by Pakistan.
Kharrazi was on the last leg of a tour of Arab states, which included stops in Syria and Lebanon, to help organize the meeting of the OIC, the world's biggest grouping of Muslim nations.
Moussa was quoted by the agency as saying that he and Kharazi discussed how the Arab League could work with the OIC to counter "a dangerous offensive against Islamic civilization," following remarks by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi suggesting the West was superior to Islamic civilization.
The two discussed "the possibility of forming a joint council" of Arab and Muslim intellectuals to "counter this campaign," Moussa said.
Briefing Italian journalists in Berlin on Wednesday, Berlusconi said the West "should be confident of the superiority of our civilization," and urged Europe to "reconstitute itself on the basis of its Christian roots."
Berlusconi said Friday his remarks were misinterpreted and was sorry they had hurt his Arab and Muslim friends. On Friday, Moussa said Berlusconi's apology was insufficient.
Kharrazi said: "It is very strange that in a year of dialogue among civilizations it was claimed that one civilization is superior to others. It is a very dangerous view."
Apart from talks with Moussa and Maher, Kharrazi, who flew in late Saturday, also met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the top cleric of Al Azhar University, Sunni Islam's highest authority.
Earlier in Damascus, Kharrazi held talks with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Foreign Minister Farouq Al Shara, which touched on international developments after the September 11 attacks, the Iranian official news agency (IRNA) said.
He repeated that his country would not participate in any anti-terrorism coalition led by the United States, and called for the battle to instead be spearheaded by the United Nations.
In Beirut, he met with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, and said they had discussed the UN Security Council resolution obliging member states to crack down on the sources of financial and logistical support for terrorist groups, but declined to comment.
Egyptian-Iranian relations were broken in 1980 after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, but ties have gradually progressed since the beginning of the 1990s.
Each country now has an interests section in the other's capital - Albabwaba.com
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