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Score Another One for Riyadh

11:56 AM, Feb 15, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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First, Al Gore's pandering and now the EU's citadel of strength, Javier Solana, does the same in that paragon of religious tolerance otherwise known as Saudi Arabia. " target=_blank>From Australia's The Age:

EU chief tries to calm cartoons dispute

February 14, 2006

The European Union and a major group of Islamic countries say they support United Nations action to stop "defamation of religion" after cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad sparked violent protests.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is lobbying for the United Nations to include language against blasphemy in the tenets of a new human rights body and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he supported the idea.

"We agreed to take different measures including at the level of the United Nations to guarantee these acts will not be repeated," OIC Secretary General Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu said in Jeddah.

The head of the 57-nation body was speaking at a press conference with Solana, who arrived overnight in the birthplace of Islam at the start of a Middle East tour to try and calm the furor over caricatures.

"We have been talking today on how we can send a message to the people in both communities, the Islamic and European, that we need this not to happen again ... We strongly hope that people will be now sensible to understand that," Solana said.

"Be sure we are going to do our utmost for this not to happen again, because we need each other... I don't think honestly it will happen again," he added.

Ihsanoglu said he also wanted the EU to pass blasphemy laws. "I have proposed many ideas, legislative measures to be taken by the European Union," he said.

Solana, who later met King Abdullah in Riyadh, made no comment on the idea of EU measures.

But a European official close to the talks said the EU was careful to avoid promises on legislative prohibitions against offending Muslims.

"We deviated from the word 'laws' and moved to concentrate on conventions, resolutions and such things. We have to be careful of Western public opinion," the official said.

Though Muslims consider any portrayal of the Prophet blasphemous, many in Europe have supported the freedom of the press to publish the cartoons.

Solana's spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said the delegation now felt the tide was turning in the cartoon furor.

"They want mechanisms to guarantee this is not repeated and we should be able to find it in UN conventions on human rights," she said....