24 September 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Message to Headquarters Meeting, Highlights Importance

of Crucial, Strategic Partnership between United Nations, Islamic Conference

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Annual Coordination Meetingof Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, delivered by Shaaban M. Shaaban, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, in New York, 24 September:

It is a pleasure to convey my greetings and best wishes to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).  The OIC is a strategic and crucial partner of the United Nations, and plays a significant role in helping to resolve a wide range of issues facing the world community.

You meet at an important juncture in the Middle East peace process.  I welcome the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian direct negotiations and their goal of resolving all final status issues within one year.  The continued support of Arab and Muslim countries will remain crucial.

In Iraq, it is important that all political leaders now work in a spirit of national unity and inclusiveness to form a new Government.  Better regional cooperation, as well as the normalization of Iraq’s relations with its neighbours, are essential elements for stability and prosperity.  The OIC is in a key position to support efforts in this direction.

In Afghanistan, the Kabul Conference in July resulted in a detailed road map for a transition to greater Afghan responsibility in security and other areas.  I have been pleased to note the solidarity of Islamic countries with Afghanistan, the generous assistance provided, and the clear stand against terrorism.

As one of Sudan’s key partners, it is important for the OIC to support a credible referenda process in Southern Sudan and Abyei.  We also count on your assistance in developing the capacity of Southern Sudan institutions regardless of the outcome of the referenda.  I would also welcome OIC in urging Sudan to deter attacks against United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian workers in Darfur.

We continue to help Pakistan respond to the flood emergency.  I call on the OIC to continue to help Pakistan strengthen its relief and recovery work, as well as its longer-term reconstruction efforts.

Let me close with a few words about this week’s Millennium Development Goals summit.  Although progress has been uneven in the OIC member States, the MDGs are still attainable.  Some countries in the Middle East continue to face enormous challenges in reducing poverty, improving health and empowering women.  In Western Asia, the food and economic crises have increased the prevalence of hunger.  Achieving gender equality remains a challenge.  The aim of the summit, and our imperative moving ahead, is to transform the pace of change from what we have seen over the past decade into dramatically faster progress.

I attach great importance to the collaboration between the United Nations and the OIC.  I look forward to continuing to work in partnership to promote development, to respond to emerging threats, and to uphold the values on which our organizations are based.  Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.

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For information media • not an official record