|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Organization of Islamic Cooperation
For the first time, the Security Council met specifically to consider cooperation between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations, said the group’s Secretary-General, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, at a press conference at Headquarters today after the Council’s unanimous adoption of a presidential statement on strengthening efforts towards common goals. (See Press Release SC/11161.)
“As of today, the big potential in the OIC and the United Nations will create a synergy to tackle the problems,” said Mr. İhsanoğlu, reading highlights of the statement.
Those problems included finding solutions for, among other things, conflict prevention, resolution and promoting socioeconomic development, he said. During the Security Council meeting, all members had recognized the advantage the Organization enjoyed, including access to areas inaccessible to many. OIC has 33 member States, with a total population of 1.6 billion.
Also in attendance was Ufuk Gokcen, Permanent Observer of OIC to the United Nations, and Mahdy Fathallah, Director, Political Department, OIC General Secretariat.
Through adopting the statement, the Council had recognized the work of OIC towards the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and its role in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and fighting terrorism, Mr. İhsanoğlu said, calling the adoption a “crowning” result of tireless efforts.
Responding to questions about the upcoming conference on Syria to be held next month in Geneva, he said the work was ongoing.
Regarding Security Council reform, he said efforts must ensure adequate representation of OIC members.
Answering a broader question on Muslim unity, he said a 2005 OIC summit in Mecca had resulted in a 10-year programme of action that emphasized moderation and modernization. “We recognize the problem of radicalization and use of violence and that Islam is hijacked by radical groups using the name of Islam to justify their evil deeds,” he said. “We should shun them. They have no right to speak on behalf of Islam.”
Further, he said, OIC and the Muslim world had been very clear on their position and would continue efforts to combat radicalism that led to violence and terrorism. Those efforts needed political will and commitment from all segments of society.
Asked about some global hotspots, he said OIC was first to highlight the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar. The latest OIC delegation would arrive there in two weeks to meet authorities and discuss the Rohingyas’ rights to citizenship and to live in their homeland. Regarding reported cases of ethnic Armenian Syrians being placed in Nagorno-Karabakh and other disputed areas, OIC would await confirmation of information.
In view of reported mosque attacks in Sri Lanka, he said OIC was worried and concerned that, similar to the situation in Myanmar, Buddhist monks were behind the violence. Last month, he met with Sri Lankan representatives who showed interest in joining OIC as an observer, and he was keeping the channels of communication open.
Asked about his successor at OIC when he steps down in December, he said the rule on geographical distribution played a factor in the region of origin of the head of the organization.
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