Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

3 June 2012

Secretary-General's press encounter following visit to Headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

SG: Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media. Asalamu alaykum.

It is a great honour and pleasure for me to visit the Headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation., Your Excellency Mr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

We just had a very productive meeting with the honourable Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

The United Nations highly values such a strategic partnership and cooperative relationship with the OIC in addressing all the spectrums of our mutual goals and objectives.

We have discussed how we can strengthen our strategic partnership and cooperative relationship in addressing, in terms of political areas, first starting with the situation in Syria and Darfur, Sudan, the situation in Sahel, and Afghanistan and Somalia.

Our priority at this time is to help the Syrian people who urgently need our support. We have agreed to do all that we can, in close coordination among the United Nations, OIC and the League of Arab States, to support the efforts of our Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, so that his six-point peace plan would be implemented.

I am grateful to the OIC for joining seven UN agencies in carrying out the assessment mission for Syria last March.

The OIC is actively participating in the Syria Humanitarian Forum and backing the efforts of  Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan.

On other areas, I welcome the OIC’s plans to establish an office in Yemen to support the humanitarian response there.

I also welcome the OIC’s establishment of a Human Rights Commission. The UN High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights will very closely cooperate with the Human Rights Commission of the OIC.  I am pleased to note that four women commissioners are working in this Human Rights Commission.

At this time of momentous change in this region, the UN and the OIC must do more to promote democracy, human rights and justice. All people deserve their basic rights and dignity and freedoms.

We discussed about the situation in the Middle East and particularly the Middle East Peace Process. The two-state solution is long overdue. We must work together to create the conditions for meaningful negotiations that will resolve the core issues and end the occupation that started in 1967.

Peace demands that we build bridges between cultures and counter extremism.  That is why both of us have participated the day before yesterday in Istanbul in the conference on the Alliance of Civilizations. I encourage the OIC to expand its valuable efforts to generate understanding and tolerance and mutual respect among different cultures, civilizations and faiths.

I look forward to exploring how we can collaborate even more closely in advancing our common principles, now and in the future.

Q: (inaudible) On League of Arab States Foreign Ministers’ meeting.

SG:  I have taken note of the League of Arab States Ministerial meeting yesterday in Doha recommending an increase of monitors, of UNSMIS in [Syria] and also setting a certain time limit. All these are very important recommendations and I hope these will be discussed by the Security Council Members. At this time I would welcome the wider international discussions on the future course of action.