The emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, November 11, 2023, ended without a unanimous agreement on imposing an oil embargo on Israel, amid the ongoing crisis in Gaza. Arab countries close to Israel vetoed any oil embargo or airspace blockage for Israel.
The meeting, which was attended by the heads of state and governments of 57 OIC member countries, was convened at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the chair of the current session of the Islamic Summit, and the Executive Committee of the OIC.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hailed the Palestinian group Hamas for its war against Israel and urged Islamic countries to launch sanctions against Israel.
“There is no other way but to resist Israel, we kiss the hands of Hamas for its resistance against Israel,” Raisi said in his address to a joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh. He also called on Islamic countries to impose oil and goods sanctions on Israel.
The meeting aimed to address the escalating military situation in Gaza and its environs as well as the deteriorating conditions that endanger the lives of civilians and the overall security and stability of the region. The OIC condemned the Israeli aggression and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and respect for international humanitarian law. The OIC also reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian cause and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood.
However, the meeting failed to reach a consensus on the proposal of some OIC members to impose an oil embargo on Israel, as a means of exerting economic pressure and isolating the Jewish state. The proposal was opposed by some OIC members, especially those with close ties or strategic interests with Israel, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting also witnessed some heated exchanges and disagreements between some OIC members, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia, over their respective roles and influence in the region. Iran accused Saudi Arabia of being complicit in the Israeli aggression and of undermining the unity and solidarity of the Muslim world.
The meeting ended with a declaration that reiterated the OIC’s commitment to finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, based on the relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. The declaration also called for more coordination and cooperation among the OIC members to address the common challenges and threats facing the Muslim world. The declaration, however, did not mention any specific measures or actions to be taken by the OIC or its members in response to the Israeli aggression.