WASHINGTON - The US Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Rashad Hussain, met several heads of state and government, including Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, on the sidelines of the Islamic summit at Makkah, the State Department said Wednesday. A Department’s news release said the US diplomat discussed with Islamic leaders a number of issues, including Syria, the democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, and US engagement with Muslim communities around the world.

Rashad Hussain, a lawyer by profession, was appointed by President Barack Obama as Special Envoy to the OIC in February 2010. He is a Muslim of Indian heritage. The new release said “Special Envoy Hussain’s attendance demonstrates the United States’ commitment to working with our partners in the international community to support the aspirations of the Syrian people and bring additional pressure to bear on the Assad regime.”