Activate relationship with the US Government, media and civil society: The Mission has activated and enhanced its relationship significantly with renowned US-based think tanks, policy and opinion makers, academics, media and mainstream Muslim communities in the US to better project the OIC positions, concerns and interests. The Mission also works to keep the US executive and legislature up-to-date on the OIC’s activities and priority action areas. Further the OIC’s excellent relationship with the United Nations: Thanks in large part to the efforts of the OIC Secretary General, who developed a close personal rapport with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as was also the case with the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the relations between the two organizations have gone from strength to strength. This can be evidenced by the increasingly broader and more substantive nature of the OIC-UN cooperation resolutions, with 27 having been adopted by the UNGA since 1975.
Partnerships abound on a range of developmental initiatives and the vigor instilled by the OIC Secretary General is maintained through constructive bilateral exchanges at the highest level. Such exchanges include the Biennial General Meeting on Cooperation between the UN and the OIC as well as – on the sidelines of the annual UNGA General Debate – consultations between the Secretary Generals of the two Organizations, bilateral exchanges with the Heads of States and Governments and delegation level talks with the UN’s Department of Politial Affairs. Enhance ties with the OIC Groups in New York and Washington DC: The OIC Secretary General has, as one of his foremost objectives, aimed at the deepening of solidarity and cooperation amond the Muslim Ummah. To this end, he has engaged directly with the OIC Groups in New York at the UN and in Washington DC to facilitate an Islamic unity and constructive engagements with all the concerned.
He has tasked this Mission to ensure that the Resolutions adopted by the OIC Summits and Conferences, particularly those that necessitates follow-up and implementation at the level of the UN, are acted upon by the OIC Group, which holds the consultations at the Ambassadorial, Executive Committee, Troika and Expert levels, including various Working Group. Efforts are also being made to realize the potential of the Ambassodarial Group in Washington DC in furthering the core objectives of the OIC. Strengthen cooperation with all relevant regional and inter-governmental organizations: The Mission has worked to deepen its partnerships with key regional and inter-governmental organizations and groups at the UN, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Group of 77, African Union (AU), League of Arab States (LAS), and the European Union (EU), as part of its efforts to build consensus on issues of common concern.
Given the Secretary General’s prioritization of confronting challenges facing Islam and the West, this Mission has regularized dialogue with the EU in New York’ the OIC-EU Troika meetings are held periodically to discuss and debate these issues and determine follow-up actions. Execute the Annual Coordination Meeting (ACM) of the OIC Foreign Ministers: The ACM is one of the most important annual gatherings of the OIC Member States, providing a platform for the representatives at the highest level to deliberate the key OIC priorities and positions as they pertain to the agenda of the UNGA and other key UN bodies. The OIC Secretary General has been taking a keen interest in the outcome of the ACM as its Final Communique serves as the OIC Group’s principal guiding document on agenda items on the relevant session of the UNGA. The OIC Mission, under the guidance of the Secretary General, plays the lead role in coordinating and guiding negotiations on the text of the Final Communique, as well as in setting the agenda for the thematic debate of the ACM.
Every summit of the OIC concludes stating “any threat to security of any member state is a threat to world peace and security and requires action within the framework of the OIC”. Currently the role of the OIC is obscure regarding the ongoing Israeli heinous attacks on Palestinians. Why is the Muslim Ummah dormant? There are 57 Islamic countries but all these are under the hegemony of big powers. All these seem to be silent spectators. The OIC should take measures to prevent Israel’s further aggression on the innocent people of Gaza. In addition to that, the international community, particularly human rights organisations, should intervene in this conflict and resolve it. The UN should implement its objective to maintain peace in the world by preventing and stopping wars. 13/01/2010Statement of Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference at the Thematic Session of the UN Security Council On The Cooperation of the UN with the Regional Organizations 13th January, 2010 Mr. President, I would like, at the outset, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference, to express our gratitude to the Chinese delegation for having taken the initiative of organizing this meeting on a subject that has a lot of bearing on addressing the important issues of peace and security in the world, through highlighting the role of regional organizations. I would also like to thank the UN Secretary General for his participation in our debate.
I voice my sincere thanks and express our appreciation for his very pertinent and timely initiative of organizing a retreat for the heads of Regional Organizations which was held in the past two days. The retreat has proven to be a good occasion for the participants to get acquainted with one another and exchange views and ideas that enriched our knowledge on many important issues. The new OIC Charter adopted in 2008 stresses the importance for all member states to adhere to the principles of the maintenance of international peace and security as well as respecting the national sovereignty independence and territorial integrity of other member states. An OIC Road Map document under the title of Ten Year Programme of Action adopted in December 2005, which we consider as a blue print of reform promoting moderation and modernization in the Muslim World, calls for strengthening the OIC’s activities in conflict prevention, confidence building, peace keeping, conflict resolution and post conflict rehabilitation, in cooperation with international and regional organizations.
Many of the issues on the Security Council’s agenda relate to the Islamic world and the OIC is naturally seized of them. This fact demonstrates the importance of having strong links of cooperation and coordination between the Security Council and the OIC, conducive to benefit from both global and local approaches of addressing these issues. This is all the more important when we consider the fact that some of the top contributors to the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations are OIC member states. This experience is an asset from which the OIC could benefit in appropriate situations in the future. While the OIC with its 57 members and 5 observer states, so far, is not into peace keeping operations, a resolution adopted at its last ministerial meeting held in Damascus in May 2009 opens the door for possible activities in a number of related areas. This resolution called for an intergovernmental expert group to study a concept paper prepared by the OIC Secretariat on the Future Role of the OIC in Maintenance of Peace and Security, Peace Keeping and Conflict Resolution.
The start of the Ministerial and expert level debate on capacity building for peace and security aspects within the OIC has certainly enriched the new OIC reform agenda, which already includes important steps such as establishment of an independent human rights commission and an international cooperation and humanitarian affairs department. These steps also indicate our understanding of the importance of socio-economic development, human rights and humanitarian assistance in promoting peace and security. The OIC has recently played an important role in Iraq and succeeded in putting an end to the sectarian strife between the Sunni and Shiite factions of the Iraqi society in the year 2006. This intervention has proven to be instrumental in reducing the wave of killings that reaped the lives of thousands of Iraqi people. Its success can be measured by the fact that the OIC intervention has helped eliminate the religious factor from the conflict in Iraq. Through our office in Baghdad we intend to follow up on our initiative.
From the point of view of a new vision and sense of responsibility which require the OIC to assume wider and proactive roles in dealing with challenges and crises affecting the Muslim World, we are in the midst of devising similar approaches for Somalia and Afghanistan, which would take into account the OIC’s potentials and comparative advantages. As a matter of fact, in the eighties of the last century, the OIC was called upon to address the crisis of civil war in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the withdrawal of the Soviet Troops. Then, the OIC had managed to mediate among the warring Afghani factions, and succeeded in restoring peace and security there. In Somalia, a founding member of the OIC, we actively participated and contributed to the negotiation process which led to the signing of the Djibouti Agreement and formation of the Transitional Government. I believe that the hosting of the last meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia in Jeddah at the OIC’s new headquarters was quite significant in exhibiting our sense of responsibility in assuming wider role for peace and security in Somalia.
Very soon we will be opening a humanitarian mission in Mogadishu, which will be transformed into a full-fledged office in time. In the last decade the OIC has focused its activities on eradicating the root causes of terrorism that has plagued some areas in the Muslim world. We had to use local methods to destroy the doctrinal infrastructure of terrorism based on totally erroneous and falsely manipulated interpretation of the teachings of Islam. The OIC Academy of Islamic Jurisprudence has managed to expose this malignant scheme and to reveal its deceitful purposes. This effort has helped in alerting the youth to the fallacy of the pretentions of the extremists and has consequently dealt a hard blow to their activities and largely reduced their heinous crimes. This method of dealing with such a scourge has proven that global problem could be solved by local remedies combined with coordination with the UN Security Council. The past experiences have shown that combating terrorism through military means only have not yielded convincing results. Resorting to military measures means attacking the symptom rather than curing the disease.
In retrospect we should analyze in all frankness what has been achieved from the War on Terror in the past years to see whether we made any progress in curing the disease or if we caused a kind of transformation and further spread of the virus. In this context, I would like to emphasize that the best way to tackle the terrorism phenomenon lies with effort to eliminate the root causes of terrorism. This approach means to start with establishing channels of communications with the influential and patriotic representatives of a given society plagued with terrorism, with a view to gaining them to your side through offering them appropriate incentives, and to convince them to try to move from the extreme and periphery to middle ground. At the same time, the most radical and hard core extremist elements should be marginalized and isolated. When this is achieved, it will be easier to gradually move to create new facts conducive to bringing about lasting and durable peace and security.
This approach might particularly prove pertinent in the parts of the Muslim world where radicalism considered to be on the rise. Similarly, the OIC believes that tackling the conflicts solely from the angle of security cannot lead to lasting and comprehensive solutions. Short term solutions must give way to mid and long-term approaches requiring proper understanding of the root causes of the conflicts, which often lie in political grievances, backwardness, underdevelopment, lack of good governance and human rights and concerns related to preservation of national, ethnic, cultural and religious identities. As a mark of its commitment to address socio-economic problems that often serve as the root causes of conflicts, the OIC has established a special fund for poverty alleviation in Member States and a special program for the development of Africa. The forthcoming OIC donors’ conference on the reconstruction and development of Darfur region to be held in March 2010 is a clear case in point. To conclude, let me reiterate that the OIC will continue to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security in every way possible in cooperation with the United Nations and with the other regional and sub-regional organizations