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Pak, Indonesia seek Muslim Mideast initiative

Musharraf, who was due to fly next to Malaysia for a meeting with Premier Badawi, said such a grouping of like-minded Muslim nations would be listened to.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2007 13:58 IST

Muslim countries need to club together in a new initiative to resolve turbulence and violence in the Middle East, the leaders of Indonesia and Pakistan said on Wednesday.

"We reviewed the turmoil in Palestine, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan and we both have consonance of views in a requirement of a new initiative," Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf told a joint news conference on the lush grounds of the white-painted colonial-style Indonesian presidential palace.

Musharraf, who was due to fly next to Malaysia for a meeting with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said such a grouping of "like-minded" Muslim nations would be listened to.

"Since the West is looking and searching for methods and new ideas of bringing peace to the region I think any new idea, any new initiative would be acceptable to them as long as it is workable," he said.

He did not elaborate on the group but said King Abdullah of Saudia Arabia was being consulted.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that to achieve peace in the Middle East, "we need to achieve greater dialogue and consultation and a role of like-minded Islamic countries."

He said Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, planned to hold an international meeting of Ulemas, or Muslim clerics, to discuss conflicts in the Islamic world.

Last week, a Jakarta official said Indonesia wanted to hold a special meeting with Hamas this year aimed at helping end internal rifts between the Palestinian ruling group and other factions. Yudhoyono did not mention this idea on Wednesday.

Both leaders face pressure to take a bigger role in the Middle East to appease the Muslim grass roots.

Musharraf said action was needed now.

"We both felt that the time has come for action and there is no room for complacency, because things are moving so fast, deteriorating so fast," he said.

First Published: Jan 31, 2007 13:58 IST