It is a great pleasure to convey my greetings to this ministerial meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. I thank the Government and people of Djibouti for hosting this gathering.
In recent years, our two organizations have been steadily developing collaboration on many fronts: from maintaining regional peace and security, to providing humanitarian relief, to promoting sustainable development to advocating mutual understanding and tolerance across the world.
I very much welcome your decision to meet under the theme of “solidarity for sustainable development. One of the primary outcomes of this year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development was renewed political commitment to this crucial challenge. As we seek to generate the strongest possible follow-up to Rio+20, the ministerial attention of the OIC is very timely.
Implementing the Rio outcome – The Future We Want – will require a fresh look at development. Our concern for human development has to be matched with much greater care for the basis of future prosperity – the fragile and finite natural resource base. We will also need new ways to cooperate, including with the private sector and the diverse voices of civil society.
Member States have now embarked on efforts to fashion a post-2015 development agenda, which will include a set of sustainable development goals. National, regional and global consultations will provide important inputs, and I urge OIC members to engage and make their voices heard.
Let me now address a number of peace and security challenges that are of common concern -- and whose resolution is essential for sustainable development.
As fundamental changes continue in the Arab world, it is imperative for the international community to support democratic transitions so that people can realize their human rights. It is also essential to get the long-stalemated Middle East peace process back on track, so that the region can develop to its full potential. The two-state solution remains the only viable option, and I urge the parties to exercise restraint, avoid provocation and return to negotiations without further delay or preconditions.
The tragic situation in Syria continues to deteriorate and will not be resolved militarily. The UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Brahimi is continuing his intensive consultations. I urge the international community, including OIC members, to support his efforts.
In Myanmar, there is an urgent need to dispel the atmosphere of insecurity and mistrust regarding the treatment of the Rohyingya Muslim minorities in Rakhine State, and to bring perpetrators of violence to justice. My Special Adviser and I have been in touch with the OIC and regional forums such as ASEAN on this matter.
I thank the OIC for its significant contribution to humanitarian efforts in Somalia, and for its role in bringing the transition to a peaceful end. We have now entered a new era of peacebuilding where international support will remain essential.
In the Sahel, the OIC has echoed UN calls for strengthened resilience and a collective response to this profound crisis.
And with respect to Iran’s nuclear programme, I continue to call for the situation to be resolved peacefully, and for Iran to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions and resolve all outstanding issues with the IAEA.
Finally, let me express my great appreciation for the constructive involvement of the OIC in the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, and thank the OIC for its critical role in helping bring about Resolution 16/18 of the Human Rights Council on combating negative stereotyping and stigmatization based on religion or belief. Let us continue to stress the need for education and peaceful dialogue as the best antidote to hatred and provocation.
As is evident from this tour d’horizon, cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC has never been more relevant or necessary. As ministers, you have tremendous influence across this agenda. You can help empower women and young people; you can help direct public spending towards wise investments in human capital; you can set an example of responsiveness and accountability on the part of government.
I urge you to play that constructive role to the fullest at home, and I look forward to even closer cooperation in the global arena in the period ahead. Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.