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DFA: ‘Technicalities’ blocking RP bid for OIC observer status

MANILA, Philippines - An issue of criteria kept the Philippine government from being granted observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said the OIC decided the criteria for the approval of new observers should be finalized first. "Had the criteria for Observers been adopted, the Philippines would have been granted the Observer seat during the 36th Council of Foreign Ministers," DFA undersecretary Rafael Seguis said. Seguis, who is also the Philippine envoy to the OIC, noted that in the CFM in Syria, the Philippines had the "overwhelming support" of OIC member states during the May 23-25 session. He said none of the member states objected to the Philippines’ admission as observer. The Philippines applied for observer status in the OIC in 2003, but it was only during the 36th CFM that the OIC discussed the application for the first time, upon the initiative of supportive OIC member states. "Citing the Philippine government’s conscientious cooperation with the OIC which led to the signing of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Nur Hassan Wirajuda proposed during the plenary session that the Philippines be granted observer status, adding that the expected decision has been long overdue," the DFA said in a statement. It added Malaysia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates supported Indonesia’s proposal in their plenary statements. Other countries that expressed strong support to Philippines’ observer bid were Syria, the host and chairman of the 36th CFM; Egypt; Saudi Arabia; Pakistan; Morocco; Libya; Bahrain; Kuwait; Jordan; Oman; Iraq; Turkey; Uganda; Bangladesh; and Brunei Darussalam. - GMANews.TV