Cairo supports Saudi nominee for OIC chief as Madani quits

Egypt has said it backs Saudi Arabia’s nomination of a new secretary general of the Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) following the resignation of its chief after he made public remarks which were considered disparaging to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The OIC said in a statement Monday it has nominated its former minister of social affairs, Youssef Al-Othaimeen, to replace Iyad Madani, who it says “has resigned for health reasons.”

The resignation by Madani and the subsequent nomination of a new chief by the Jeddah-based organisation came two days after Cairo condemned the outgoing head’s comments.

Egypt’s foreign ministry released a statement late Monday saying it supported the new nominee, and that Cairo “appreciates the important role the Saudi Kingdom is playing in the support of the activities and goals of the OIC.”

“Egypt looks forward to continuing its strong cooperation with the secretariat of OIC and its new secretary general,” it added.

Cairo was angered last week when outgoing chief Madani mixed up El- Sisi’s name with that of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at a conference, then said: “I am sure your fridge has more than water [President Essebsi].”

Madani was referring to comments by the Egyptian president earlier last week in which El-Sisi said that his fridge had nothing in it but water for a decade, in a message to exhort Egyptians to adjust to expected tough economic decisions.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had said Madani’s remark was “a serious encroachment against a founding member state of the organisation and its political leadership.”

“Such remarks do not conform with the responsibilities and the duties of the organisation’s secretary general position, and fundamentally affect his ability to carry out his duties,” Shoukry added, in a statement published in English.

Madani, who had chaired the bloc since January 2014, apologised and said he meant no “insult to the Egyptian leadership.”

The OIC, which was established in September 1969, comes in second place after the United Nations (UN) as the second largest inter-governmental organization, with 57 state members spread over four continents.

It is composed of three main bodies: The Islamic Summit, Council of Foreign Ministers, and the General Secretariat.

According to their website, the OIC was established as a ‘voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world’.

Source: Ahram Online