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      Muslim Bloc Calls for Palestinian State, Slams 'Occupation'

      Organization of Islamic Cooperation says the world should support a Palestinian state and work to end "Israeli occupation."
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/10/2013, 5:15 AM

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      Flash 90

      The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday called on the international community to support an independent Palestinian state, as it opened a conference also focusing on the crises in Syria and Mali, reported AFP.

      Outgoing chairman Mahmoud Ali Youssouf described the issue of the Palestinian state as the "central question" for the world's largest grouping of Muslim nations as he launched its three-day Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in the Guinean capital Conakry.

      As expected, he also slammed Israeli “settlements” in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

      "It is incumbent upon us to continue our advocacy for the creation of a Palestinian state recognized by the United Nations," he said, according to AFP.

      "To this end it is for the international community to take measures to put an end to the Israeli occupation, the continuation of settlements on Palestinian land and abuses committed against the Palestinian people," he charged.

      The comments come as U.S.-brokered negotiations continue between Israel and the PA.

      A report on Sunday indicated that Secretary of State John Kerry was threatening to delay the next scheduled release of terrorists being held in Israeli prisons as a means of pressuring the PA to accept the security proposal he made for the Jordan Valley.

      Responding to Kerry’s threats, a spokesperson for Abbas declared Monday that the PA will not agree to the delay.

      Meanwhile Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official, told AFP that Kerry's Jordan Valley proposals "will drive Kerry's efforts to an impasse and to total failure."

      PLO officials have declared they would not compromise on any of their basic demands to make a deal with Israel: A full Israeli withdrawal from all lands liberated in 1967, establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, and a full return to their original homes the families that fled Israel when it was established in 1948.

      At Monday’s meeting, Youssouf also welcomed the return to democracy in Mali following presidential and parliamentary elections in the west African nation, which was upended by a coup and sweeping Islamist offensive before a French-led military intervention in January.

      At the same time, he condemned the "failure of the international community" to end the bloodshed in Syria, wracked by conflict between forces loyal to the government of President Bashar Al-Assad and rebels seeking to oust it.

      "With over 100,000 dead and more than two million refugees and displaced persons, we call for an end to this fratricidal war through measures and actions to ensure a successful transition to the Syrian people's rights and freedoms," said Youssouf.

      The 57-member OIC was founded in 1969 and describes itself on its website as the "collective voice of the Muslim world."

      In August of 2012, the OIC suspended Syria’s membership because of the ongoing civil war in that country.