- At least 37 heads of state and government have confirmed their participation in the 11th summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) scheduled to take place on 13 and 14 March in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
President Abdoulaye Wade, who disclosed the news to the state television, said Senegal was proud of the high-profile turnout.
Mr Wade was grateful to Senegalese for not only adopting the summit, but also praying for its entire success.
Senegal hosted the OIC summit in 1991, but the current event would look into the challenges of the Islamic Ummah [community], including the conflicts in Sudan, Chad and Palestine. President Wade said unless "one does not want to betray the spirit of peace of Islam", these conflicts would be solved.
The Senegalese leader also said issues around poverty in the Muslim world would be discussed under Islamic solidarity.
The summit is a great blessing for Senegal, which had amassed funds to turn Dakar into a world class modern city by erecting roads, bridges and hotels. The roads and bridges will ease traffic jams in Dakar.
Ahead of the heads of state and government summit, several non-governmental organisations adopted a declaration, urging Muslim leaders to exert pressures on Sudanese President Omer el-Bashir to end the crisis in Darfur, western Sudan.
Adopted in Saly, 80 km from Dakar, the declaration's backers included the African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO), the Coalition Save Sudan and Sudanese MPs, is expected to be among the burning issues of the Dakar summit.
The declaration called on leaders of the Muslim world to "solve the issues which affect the population in some parts of the region, particularly the humanitarian situation in Darfur."
"We are conscious that the Islamic religion recommends high moral values and orders the Muslims to adhere to the values of peace, respect the safety and integrity of the human being," the declaration noted, adding that Islam "forbids and criminalises manslaughter, the forced displacement of civilians, including women, children, and the destruction of lives and means of subsistence, including the profanation of the places of worship, which are as many odious crimes against the Islamic faith and the standards of the civilised lives."
All parties to the conflict have been urged to immediately cease attacks on innocent Darfur civilians.
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