(MENAFN - Arab News) Abdul Rahim Sayedjan is a senior leader from Afghanistan. He previously served as a minister in the Hamid Karzai government and was always posted in key diplomatic positions. Now Afghanistan's ambassador and permanent representative to the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Sayedjan spoke to Arab News about his country's expectations from the Makkah solidarity summit (Aug. 14-15).
Ambassador Abdul Rahim, thank you for talking to Arab News. First things first, who is representing Afghanistan at the Makkah summit? Is President Hamid Karzai coming?
Yes, the president will lead the Afghan delegation to the summit. The delegation will include the foreign minister and the national security adviser.
What are Afghanistan's expectations from the summit? What would the average Afghan in Kabul and Kandahar like to hear from the Muslim world regarding his country?
The government of Afghanistan has always expected and requested the Muslim world, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to assist it in the peace process. This is because the average Afghan believes that all sides involved in the war will respect Saudi mediation efforts. We are hoping that this summit will help unify the Islamic world. If this happens, then it will have a positive effect in solving crises in different parts of the Islamic world. Afghans are mainly hoping for peace and stability and they are looking for an initiative from the Islamic world.
Will your country urge the Muslim world, led by Saudi Arabia, to play its role in establishing peace in the country after the American-NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan?
After the American and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, it will be the moral and religious responsibility of the Islamic world to support Afghans in restoring peace and stability and to help them reconstruct their country. I am sure that our president will try his best to urge the Muslim world, led by Saudi Arabia, to play its role in establishing peace in Afghanistan, even before the withdrawal of NATO from the country.
All major regional players that have stakes in Afghanistan - such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran - will be at the summit. This should be a unique opportunity for Afghanistan to press for its case. Will your country persuade Saudi Arabia to use its leverage with Pakistan to broker a peace accord between all parties?
The Afghan government and the Afghan people believe that the problem in Afghanistan has internal as well as external dimensions. Once the external aspect of the problem - that is outside interference in the internal affairs of our country - has been solved, then Afghanistan will be able to reach internal peace and stability. That is why we believe that Saudi Arabia's role in convincing our neighbors, especially Pakistan, to assist Afghanistan in reaching an understanding with the Taleban is important.
With so many pressing issues, such as Syria, you think Afghanistan will get the attention it deserves at the summit?
We are aware of the unfortunate occurrences that are taking place in some parts of the Islamic world, especially in the Middle East, which require urgent attention. We believe that the initiative taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to convene this extraordinary summit will have a positive effect on the future of the Ummah, including Afghanistan. It will make the OIC more active.
Is there anything specific that you would like to convey regarding the summit?
We hope that the summit will strongly support the Afghan government's peace initiatives and negotiations with the Taleban and prevent Afghanistan from falling back into a precarious situation that existed 10 years ago. We hope there will not arise a situation that will provide a pretext for foreign forces to remain in Afghanistan.