Cairo Summit Aimed to Study Economic Cooperation Among D-8

February 25, 2001
TEHRAN The eight developing Muslim nations, D-8 group opened their fifth meeting of Council of Ministers in Cairo on Saturday, with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa delivering the inaugural address.

In his speech, he highlighted the necessity of developing economic cooperation among the D-8 member states.

The Council of Ministers of D-8 member states meets every year for policymaking in compliance with its objectives.

Also, the Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is in Cairo now to attend the third summit.

The Iranian foreign minister was welcomed at Cairo's airport by his Egyptian counterpart Amr Moussa.

Kharrazi and his accompanying delegation are also to participate in the fifth session of the foreign ministerial meeting of eight Muslim developing countries known as the D-8, to be held on Saturday.

In a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the sidelines of the D-8 summit, Kharrazi said Saturday that Iran believes that the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinians will pave the way for a just peace in the Middle East.

Kharrazi declared that holy Qods and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland are the most important aspects of the Palestinian issue.

He said Iran contends that a democratic solution is the only way to solve the Palestinian crisis and establish a just peace in the region.

He further pointed out that main inhabitants of Palestine, including the refugees, are the ones who should decide on a democratic government.

The minister said unity among Muslim governments and nations and their support for the Palestinian people's struggles are essential at this juncture.

He said that the Intifada and vigilance of the Islamic countries are the factors which will strengthen the Palestine position.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Kharrazi expressed regret over meager trade among D-8 countries and expressed hope that the ongoing D-8 meeting will help broaden commercial exchanges among member states.

President Mubarak said that Egypt is willing to remove economic barriers and bottlenecks among D-8 members and raise commercial exchanges among them to a desirable level.

He said that his country is for further activation of the D-8 grouping in line with the interests of Muslim states.

Kharrazi is also scheduled to hold talks with his counterparts in the D-8 on the sidelines of the conference.

The first gathering of the eight developing countries (D-8) was held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996.

Iran and seven other Islamic countries -- Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt and Nigeria -- are members of the group.

In the meantime, a university professor and an expert in regional studies Saturday underlined the high economic potential of the D-8, saying the formation of complementary markets can boost the bargaining power of member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in world trade.

Mohammadreza Majidi, interviewed by the IRNA correspondent in Cairo said, "The combined population of the eight member countries of the D-8 shows that the economic forum, with a combined market of one billion consumers, can command a place in the global trade arena."

Furthermore, he said that the rich natural resources possessed by Iran and the other seven D-8 member countries can provide material for a common market for the states themselves as well as with other Islamic countries. He said these resources include oil, gas, mines and human labor.

The expert underscored the need for D-8 countries to be on the lookout for failure or rift that would thwart convergence among Islamic countries which is a prerequisite for effectiveness of the D-8, and said that given their expanded economic and social cooperation Muslim states should not allow the forum to be defeated by serious challenges.

Majidi stressed that cooperation among Islamic countries will greatly affect their fate at the international level.