CAIRO: Heads of state from across the Islamic world meet in Cairo today to tackle crises ranging from Syria’s civil war to the battle against Islamist militants in Mali, with their sharp differences expected to be laid bare.
Syria will not be represented at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit even though much of the debate is expected to be focused on the conflict that has ravaged that country for almost 23 months, leaving tens of thousands dead.
The meeting will gather leaders of 26 of the OIC’s 57 states, with Egypt’s first Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, assuming the organisation’s rotating presidency.
The gathering will call for ‘serious dialogue’ between the Syrian opposition and government officials ‘not directly involved in oppression’ according to a draft resolution obtained by AFP.
The call for dialogue, drafted by foreign ministers after two days of preparatory meetings, will pile pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to respond to a surprise offer of talks by Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, leader of the opposition National Coalition.