Published: Fri, November 04, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

OIC secretary-general quits after remarks angered Egypt

OIC secretary-general quits after remarks angered Egypt

Secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Dr. Iyad bin Amin Madani has tendered his resignation, for health reasons, according to a statement from the organisation.

Madani's stepdown was announced just few days after Egypt has said that it would reconsider its relations with the OIC after Madani's joke about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi.

Saudi Arabia has nominated its former minister of social affairs, Youssef al-Utaymeen, to replace Madani, the OIC statement said.

However, his resignation comes as Egypt criticized Madani days earlier after he confused the Tunisian president's name with that of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, then said: "I am sure your fridge has more than water".

During a conference in Tunisia, Madani accidentally referred to Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi as Beji Caid Al-Sisi.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri had condemned the remarks of the secretary general of OIC which he considered were mocking Sisi. Essebsi sorry. This is a big mistake.

In a statement late on Monday, Egypt's foreign ministry welcomed Saudi's nomination of Othaimeen.

Egyptian media, meanwhile, claimed Madani was a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group from which Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi hails.

This was an apparent jibe at el-Sisi, who told a conference in October that his fridge contained nothing but water for a decade - a comment seen as a message to Egyptians to be ready to cope with harsh economic conditions. Recognizing his mistake, Madani, who is also a Saudi Arabian minister, chuckled before stating "that was a disgusting mistake".

"Such remarks do not conform with the responsibilities and the duties of the organisation s secretary general position, and fundamentally affect his ability to carry out his duties", he added in a statement in English. Shukri also said Egypt would "revise" its approach to the OIC and its chief.

Madani held office in January 2014 and was assigned for five years, thus any candidate will have to finish that duration.

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