D-8 head urges Gaza cease-fire ahead of Muslim holy month of Ramadan

A solution or cease-fire in Gaza very soon will be "better for the people, who will be fasting soon" during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, said the secretary general of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, speaking ahead of the start of Ramadan next week. 

Speaking to Anadolu at the just-concluded Antalya Diplomacy Forum in southern Türkiye, Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam decried the devastation caused by Israel's attacks on Gaza, which since last October have claimed the lives of over 30,000 people.

"This is very, very sad and worrying for us. Personally, I am concerned, and all D-8 members are equally concerned," Imam said.

The D-8 is an organization for development cooperation whose members include Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Türkiye.

Imam, a seasoned Nigerian diplomat, also cited the call for a cease-fire and humanitarian aid deliveries made by D-8 Commission members at a meeting last fall.

"Ramadan is around the corner and the earlier we can find a solution and a cease-fire can be brought about, the better for the Muslim ummah (community), especially … people who will be fasting very soon," he added.

During Ramadan, Muslims typically fast from sunrise to sunset.  

Antalya Diplomacy Forum quickly gaining attention

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum is an international platform focusing on dialogue, participation, and discourse in various areas of global issues, unlike other global platforms, said Imam.

"Unlike other global platforms, the Antalya Diplomacy Forum is only three years old and I'm quite impressed with the kind of rapid attention it has gotten," he said.

He congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "for leading this great initiative” as well as Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan "for hosting this very important forum and inviting us."

This year marks the third edition of the annual forum. Last year’s planned forum was canceled due to devastating earthquakes in southern Türkiye in February.  

'Impressive' progress for D-8

Imam said the D-8 is making very fast and "impressive" progress and underlined: "Since I came on board about two years ago, I have improved the visibility of the organization."

"The organization has become well known, not only among our members, but globally," he said.

"Our trade figures are also picking up very fast,” he added.

“You know, we were established purposely for trade and we are quite pleased that our trade figures are picking up. So we have made some very impressive progress.”

The three-day Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which was attended by nearly 4,500 participants, including 19 heads of state, 73 government ministers, and 57 international representatives, concluded on Sunday in the Turkish Riviera city of Antalya.

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