Transcript: Remarks by Secr. Gen of the Org of Islamic conferences

Federal News Service
October 11, 2004 Monday


ABDELOUAHED BELKEZIZ: Highnesses and Excellences, Ladies and

As-salam alaykum warahmotullah wabarakatuh.

We are gathered here today at this coordination meeting, on the
sidelines of the ongoing fifty-ninth session of the United Nations
General Assembly, having met three months ago at our annual meeting
in Istanbul. There, we took many important decisions, a large part of
which was related to issues listed in the agenda of this General
Assembly session.

Today’s session was preceded by two days of preparatory meetings of
various specialized committees, held here in New York. At those
meetings, views were exchanged and positions were coordinated on some
issues included in the agenda of the current General Assembly
session, thus enabling us to be well-prepared for the present

I wish to stress at the outset that the General Secretariat of our
organization attaches great importance to today’s coordination
meeting, just as it strives continuously to seize the opportunity of
holding this meeting to achieve the real aims for which the meeting
is being held. Those aims are mainly twofold:

I – To coordinate views and positions of Member States on key Islamic
issues in order to devise the best way of presenting them and
arriving at the best result desired in the international arena.

II – To mobilize total Islamic support for Islamic positions taken
under the system of Islamic action, giving them the best
opportunities to succeed.

There is no doubt that if we are able to seize this opportunity and
coordinate, we would have done the Islamic Ummah tremendous good and,
at the same time, rendered a huge political service on Islamic
issues. In short, we would have taken a giant step on the road to
unifying joint Islamic action and enhanced the international status
and value of the Islamic world.

In coming to this conclusion, I am neither predicting nor being
merely optimistic. The conclusion is born out of experience. We have
seen in our international practices especially at the United Nations
that an appreciable number of issues pertaining to the Islamic world,
on which member states presented a common front, were decided in
their favour. That was because their views were taken into account,
or because they were consulted before many decisions were reached. If
this approach is better coordinated and enhanced, its future results
will be more convincing and clearer.

Excellences and Honourables,

Before I touch upon the issues discussed in the specialized
committees in the past two days, I wish to speak very briefly about
some global issues affecting the Islamic world negatively. Perhaps
the most important of them is the culture of Islamophobia and its
link with international terrorism, which has claimed many Muslim
victims in the bid to fight it. Although the OIC has succeeded in
opening a door of dialogue among civilizations as a civilized
response to anti- Islamic ideas, the dialogue is still in need of
more focus and attention. Furthermore, efforts need to be made to
take the dialogue from academic and intellectual circles to the
levels of international civil societies and popular institutions in
order to disseminate the ideas of Islamic tolerance, change
stereotypes about Islam and project its noble values among Western
societies, in particular.

The issue of human rights is prominent in our priorities. Many
Muslims in Palestine and abroad face a lot of harassments and human
rights violations, especially after the September 11 events. Thus
Islamic groups seeking to deal with the situation should push for
international resolutions clearly condemning those acts and appealing
to their perpetrators to stop.

Excellences and Honourables, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We express our solidarity with the people of Iraq in their present
circumstances. Nonetheless, we are satisfied that Iraq has regained
its sovereignty and authority in the wake of the transfer of
authority that was completed at the beginning of July, this year. We
are equally pleased that an interim Iraqi government has been formed.
The interim government would pave the way for series of processes
that would eventually lead to the establishment of a fully sovereign
and independent democratic government, with its constitution ratified
by the Iraqi people and with its own government born out of free and
fair elections.

Part of the priorities of Islamic solidarity is to open up to and
stand by Iraq to achieve these objectives. The country should be
provided with all forms of assistance it requires in these
circumstances so that the conditions for security can be created. In
this context, we can only condemn the various acts of terrorism
taking place in Iraq, targeting civilians, the symbol and signs of
authority and various civil institutions, just as we condemn the acts
of hostage taking.

On Palestine, the advisory opinion of the International Court of
Justice on the separation wall built by Israel on the occupied West
Bank confirmed the position of international law that the Israeli
actions were illegal. The court has ruled that the wall should be
demolished. It also ruled that its effects should be removed and that
reparation be paid to those affected by its construction. It also
requested the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly to
consider necessary measures to implement the ruling.

The advisory opinion has opened the door for all those affected by
Israel’s illegal practices, which is a flagrant violation of
international law and international humanitarian law, to approach
international judicial institutions such as the Internal Criminal
Court and others with their complaints and grievances. Such would
serve as a deterrent to the illegalities in many Israeli practices,
which cannot continue, in the occupied Palestinian territories.

We have also been following with much doubt and suspicion the
attitude of the Israeli government towards implementing the road map
and the plan to withdraw first from Gaza, presented by the Israeli
prime minister. In an attempt to explain the Islamic position on
these matters, an Islamic ministerial delegation in June 2004 visited
the parties that adopted and signed the road map in the European
Union, the Russian Federation, the United States of America and the
United Nations. The Islamic ministerial delegation met with the
foreign ministers of Ireland (representing the EU), the Russian
Federation, the United States of America and the Secretary General of
the United Nations. The visits had an obvious positive impact as all
the representatives of the concerned countries said that they were
impressed by the unity of the Islamic position on the question of
Palestine and the plight of the Palestinian people, and by the
support of the whole of the Islamic world for the restoration of
Palestinians’ rights. We hope that the matter would keep progressing
until the road map is implemented without prevarication.

We also stand in solidarity with Syria in its efforts aimed at
ensuring that the language of dialogue and diplomacy rather than the
method of threats prevails. We also affirm the right of Lebanon and
Syria to their internal political choices, and to establish the kind
of relationship they wish amongst themselves or with others, without
external interference.

We also welcome the readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to
positively cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and
reaffirm that Iran has the right to acquire nuclear technology for
peaceful usage.

We have also been following the efforts at restoring peace and
security in the various parts of Afghanistan. Security would be a
prelude to the holding of legislative elections in the country. We
hope that the elections would go ahead next month as scheduled.
Hence, we also appeal to countries to pay more attention to post-war
and conflict reconstruction, in order to pave the way for life to
return to normal.

Concerning Kashmir, we have renewed hopes that the new condition in
the region, following the political developments in India, would
bring a solution that is based on relevant Security Council
resolutions which gives the Kashmiris their right of self-

In Azerbaijan, Armenia has made no moves to remove the effects of the
hostilities in Azerbaijan or of the occupation of about 20% of that
country. We stress in this connection the principles of international
law and the Security Council resolution which pronounced the
occupation of territories by military force illegal. We reiterate our
rejection of the Armenian practices aiming and modifying the
demographic configuration of the occupied Azerbaijan regions and at
changing the data there, in organizing in particular elections in the
occupied region of Nagorno Karabakh. We hope that international
efforts would continue, including those of the Organization for
Cooperation and Security in Europe to end the conflict in accordance
with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

Concerning Cyprus, the international position has become apparent in
the plan proposed by the United Nations Secretary General to end the
Cyprus crisis. The plan was to establish a federal Cyprus government
to be based on a formula of two equal states in Cyprus: a Turkish
Cyprus State and a Greek Cyprus State. The Turkish Cypriots voted in
favour of this plan while the Greek Cypriots rejected it, thus making
the Turkish side align with the path of international legality. Thus
the Turkish side succeeded in creating favourable conditions to
remove it from political isolation. This led the European Union and
the United States to begin to cooperate with and extend various
assistances to the Turkish side. So, it is proper for brotherly
countries in the OIC to take after the European and American
initiatives and to open doors of cooperation and assistance with the
State of Turkish Cyprus provided for by the international plan

The situation in the Darfur region of Sudan has begun to take an
international turn, with many governments issuing allegations and
threats and urging the Sudanese government to urgently take measures
to end the humanitarian crisis there. The OIC General Secretariat had
sent a fact finding mission to Darfur. That mission prepared a report
on the situation, which has been sent to the UN Secretary General. I
believe that with the complexities of this crisis, Member States
should extend all diplomatic and material assistance possible to help
the Sudanese government resolve this problem soon. They should be
very concerned about the territorial and national unity of Sudan,
which again is being targeted. Member States should take conscious
responsibility of the dangers threatening this Member State. We hope
that donor countries would live up to their promises to help with
humanitarian supplies to tackle the crisis as a prelude to finding a
lasting solution to the social problems in that region.

Concerning Somalia, we welcome the efforts of the IGAD mediation
committee, working with the Somali factions, aimed at establishing,
on the Somali factions which resulted in the inauguration of the
proposed Somali parliament last month. We appeal to these factions to
be part of those efforts, as a prelude to a new interim federal
government in which all Somali sides would be represented.

This is more so because the Security Council has passed a resolution
to punish any Somali faction that disrupts the peace process. We also
welcome the attempt by the African Union to send military observers
to Somalia. We hope all these efforts would succeed in returning
Somalia to its former state of peace, security, tranquility, rule of
law and participation in international life.

The foregoing are some of the issues that should receive our
attention and solidarity. As the General Assembly begins this
session, I am certain that our Islamic cooperation and solidarity
would be manifested in the unified positions which had been taken by
our states and governments at the recently held summit and
ministerial meetings of the OIC.

I hope that we would live up to the level of the trust placed on our
shoulders as we work together to serve the objectives of the Islamic
Ummah and elevate its position.

Wa salam alaykum warahmotullah wabarakatouhou.)