Saudi chief of Islamic body quits after 'mocking Sisi'

Saudi chief of Islamic body quits after 'mocking Sisi'
The Secretary-General of the largest pan-Islamic body resigned citing health reasons just two days after mocking Egypt's Sisi, the OIC confirmed on Monday.
2 min read
01 November, 2016
The Secretary-General resigned just two days after mocking Egyp's Sisi [Getty]

The world's largest pan-Islamic body said its Saudi chief resigned on Monday, days after infuriating Egypt over a remark that mocked President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation lost its Secretary-General Iyad Madani "for health reasons," the Jeddah-based organisation said in a statement, two days after Cairo condemned a comment that provoked outrage among Egyptians.

"The OIC General Secretariat takes this chance to express its utmost appreciation and respect to all member states," the 57-member bloc said.

The former Saudi minister made the comment last week after he mixed up Sisi's name with that of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at a conference.

"Mr President Beji Caid al-Sisi. Essebsi sorry. This is a big mistake. I'm sure your fridge has more than water, your excellency," he told the Tunisian leader, referring to comments made by Sisi last week in which he claimed that his fridge only had water in it for a decade.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said Madani's remark was "a serious encroachment against a founding member state of the organisation and its political leadership".

"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.

Madani, who had headed the bloc since 2014, apologised, saying in a statement he meant no "insult to the Egyptian leadership".

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

Egypt's foreign ministry said it supported the nominee, "appreciating the important role Saudi is doing in the support of the activities and goals of OIC".

"Egypt looks forward to continuing its strong cooperation with the general secretary of OIC and its secretariat," it added.