Muslim scholars at Saudi conference call for peace in Afghanistan


JEDDAH -- More than 100 Muslim scholars from around the world meeting Wednesday (July 11) in the Saudi holy city of Makkah issued an urgent appeal for peace in Afghanistan as they ended a two-day conference.

"Reconciling between battling Muslims is one of the greatest and most honoured acts of worship," read the closing declaration, which urged mutual understanding and direct negotiations.

The gathering, titled the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan, was sponsored by the Saudi government and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), based in nearby Jeddah.

Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, the secretary-general of the 57-member pan-Islamic organisation, ended the meeting by urging a ceasefire for Afghanistan.

"The OIC calls on all parties to observe a truce, respect a ceasefire and enter into direct negotiations," he said at the close of the conference.

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