29 June 2011
Secretary-General
SG/SM/13676

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

Secretary-General, in Message to Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Hails Ties Linking


United Nations, Organization of Islamic Conference

 


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Jan Kubiš, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, to the thirty-eighth session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), in Astana on 28 June:


I am pleased to greet the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.  I thank the Government of Kazakhstan for hosting this event.


The OIC and the UN share many common goals and maintain a close partnership on a variety of issues, including preventive diplomacy, crisis management and peacebuilding.  The historic changes taking place in many parts of the Arab world make a compelling case for ever-closer cooperation.


The non-violent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia have inspired a movement for greater freedom throughout the region.  However, we also see resistance to popular demands for democratic change, and the violent repression in several countries is a source of great concern.


While each situation is distinct, we must stand by core principles and values, in particular respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, rejection of the excessive use of force, protection of civilians, and support for inclusive dialogue and meaningful reforms.  We must also focus on the economic dimensions of the transition and reform processes — in particular, expanding opportunities for young people.


The situation in Libya remains a major challenge.  My Special Envoy is working with many partners, including the OIC and some of its members, to find a peaceful resolution of the situation and address urgent humanitarian needs.


I also remain deeply concerned by events in Syria.  The support of the OIC will continue to be an important part of efforts to ensure that the Syrian authorities respect the rights of the Syrian people, engage in a fully inclusive national dialogue and enact genuine reforms.


Similarly, in Yemen, the situation is deeply worrisome.  I have been keeping closely abreast of the situation, including through the sending of an envoy.  A peaceful and inclusive dialogue is the only way forward.  I also remain concerned about the human rights situation in Bahrain.  I welcome the lifting of emergency laws and the prospect of a national dialogue.


In addition to these more recent challenges, a way must be found for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to resume as soon as possible.  The realization of a two-State solution is long overdue and more urgent than ever.  The OIC has an important role to play in creating an environment of trust and understanding among the parties.


On Afghanistan, the coming months could be decisive in generating renewed momentum for an Afghan-led and Afghanistan-based political process.  At the request of the Afghan High Peace Council, the UN and the OIC are backing ongoing national efforts.  The last meeting of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan, which took place at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah in March, reiterated the international commitment to assist in peace efforts, and I look forward to strengthening OIC-UN efforts.


In Africa, the impending independence of South Sudan is a historic moment.  I have proposed a new UN mission in South Sudan to help the Government build capacity, protect its people and assume its responsibilities as a new State.  At the same time, we should not lose sight of the unfinished CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] issues.  Popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, the status of Abyei, and arrangements for the North-South border must be carried forward for a peaceful transition.


In Somalia, the “Kampala Accord” signed on 9 June has broken the political deadlock which has paralysed the Transitional Federal Institutions for some time.  This progress comes at a critical juncture.  The leaders of the Transitional Federal Institutions should move swiftly to implement the Kampala Accord and complete the outstanding tasks.  I encourage the OIC to support these efforts, including through the UN and AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] trust funds.


Our common peace efforts also require building bridges between cultures and countering extremism and polarization.  I, therefore, welcome the active participation of the OIC in the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, a vital UN platform for intercultural dialogue and cooperation.  The Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation is among those taking part.  I warmly welcome your contributions and encourage you to expand your efforts.


The OIC gives voice to one fifth of the world’s population.  I deeply appreciate your collaboration with the UN and look forward to exploring how we can collaborate even more closely in advancing our common principles and objectives in the years to come.


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For information media • not an official record