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Muslim nations hold emergency meeting on Somalia famine

(Xinhua)

09:43, August 18, 2011

ISTANBUL, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Somalia's president, Turkish prime minister and representatives of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an emergency meeting here on Wednesday to discuss how to combat the famine in Somalia.

In Somalia, some 3.2 million people are estimated to be on the brink of starvation.

The emergency meeting of the OIC executive committee at foreign ministers level on Somalia was attended by Somalia President Sheikh Ahmed and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the situation in Somalia poses not just a test for the Somali people but for humanity as a whole.

He appealed to the collective conscience of the Islamic world and the world at large to come to the help of the Somali people.

"We will not stand by and watch. We will do what we can to help our Somali brothers. Hopefully our meeting today will give hope to the Somali people," said Erdogan.

Erdogan also called on the Somali president to take measures to ensure peace and stability in Somalia.

He said that Turkey is ready to show its support to Somalia. He would lead Turkish government delegation to travel to Somalia on Thursday.

He also declared that Turkey will launch the bid to host the second meeting on Somalia in 2012.

Somalia President Sheikh Ahmed presented a sad picture of Somalia to the OIC representatives at the meeting, saying: "We are fighting disease and starvation. We thank contributions from Islamic countries."

He appealed to the world that take Turkey as an example and provide aid to Somalia as duty of humanitarian.

OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Sheikh Ahmed as well as foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Turkey and economy minister of Iran are present at the meeting.

The representatives talked about boosting assistance to drought- stricken Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa region.

"We are here today to find ways to end the growing misery faced by more than 4 million Somalis who are on the verge of death due to starvation," said Ekmeliddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the OIC.

A declaration is expected to be released at the end of the meeting. OIC will call for help from international community to increase their assistance.

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