13 March 2008 The United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) “stand side by side” in forcefully rejecting any linkages between terrorism and Islam and in confronting a raft of other issues, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
“You have spoken up against those who seek to justify violence in the name of religion,” Mr. Ban told the Conference’s summit in Dakar, Senegal.
“Your efforts reinforce the UN's own steps to promote tolerance and understanding through the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, and I look forward to increasing UN-OIC collaboration in this area,” he added.
Calling the UN and the OIC, which represents one-fifth of the worlds population, natural allies, the Secretary-General also called for sustained cooperation on Middle East conflicts, Darfur, Somalia, extreme poverty and other pressing issues.
He warned them that the situation in the Middle East remains precarious, nowhere more so than in the Gaza Strip, and urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take urgent measures to ease the suffering in Gaza and give hope to its people.
He also expressed his regret that regional interests and domestic Lebanese dynamics have forestalled any breakthrough in the selection of a President there, and discussed the situations in Iraq and Iran.
Speaking on Darfur, Mr. Ban emphasized that the deployment of the UN/AU Mission there, known as UNAMID, is no substitute for a political process, adding: “That remains the key to lasting peace in the region.”
He noted that the OIC was particularly well-placed to promote peace within and between Chad and Sudan in combination with UN efforts to end suffering in the region.
A mini-summit on that topic to be hosted by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade had been planned for yesterday evening in Dakar, to bring together President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Idriss Deby of Chad.
However, that event did not occur as scheduled and the Secretary-General is consulting on the matter with the Senegalese, Sudanese and Chadian Presidents.
Mr. Ban spent most of his day today in meetings with heads of state and government on a range of issues, from the Middle East to Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Sudan and Chad.
He met this morning with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, among others, and is later expected to meet with more national leaders, including the presidents of Afghanistan and Indonesia
News Tracker: past stories on this issue