Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

18 June 2014

Secretary-General's message to the 41st Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers [delivered by Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq]

I am pleased to greet the 41st session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers.
Our organizations continue to work together on a range of immediate crises and long-term pursuits.
The rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq is deeply alarming and increases the sectarian tensions in the region. It is imperative that acts of reprisal be avoided as they can only intensify the cycle of violence. A humanitarian crisis is quickly unfolding. I call on Iraq's leaders to come together and agree on a national security plan to address the terrorist threat from ISIL. It must be based on observance of human rights standards and international humanitarian law. They should also lay out a set of inclusive political initiatives that address the concerns of all communities in the country. The United Nations stands ready to facilitate this process and the members of the OIC can play a key role in creating a positive and enabling environment for national dialogue.
The conflict in Syria is now raging into its fourth year.  I reiterate my deep appreciation for the countries that are hosting over 2.8 million refugees.  However, the international community as a whole has so far failed the Syrian people in ending this war.
The conflict cannot be resolved militarily.  Starving Syrians into surrender or conquering territory through barrel bombs or terrorist attacks cannot be considered victory. 
I regret that the Middle East Peace Process has reached another impasse.  There is no substitute to negotiations to achieve the two-state solution.  The parties must avoid further unilateral steps, including illegal settlements.  Religious freedom and access to holy sites for worshippers of all faiths, in particular in Jerusalem, must be preserved.
I continue to support the interim national consensus government established within the framework of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s commitments and under the leadership of President Abbas, and the reunification of the West Bank and Gaza under the legitimate Palestinian Authority, which is an indispensable part of a permanent settlement.  Improving the lives of the Palestinian people, in particular in Gaza, remains challenging.  I count on all Members of the OIC to lend their generous support.

The United Nations shares the OIC’s concern about the large displacement and relocation of Muslim communities in the Central African Republic. We commend the OIC’s engagement in the region and that of your Special Envoy, including his recent visit to demonstrate support and solidarity to the integrity and national unity of the CAR.

In keeping with its mandate, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated
Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic is working with partners to provide political support to the Transitional Authorities.

In Mali, an inclusive political process is the only way to find lasting solutions to the conflict.  The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission is facilitating discussions among the parties.

In Somalia, stabilization efforts should be enhanced in the areas recovered from
Al-Shabaab.  Support to implement the New Deal “Compact” and efforts to ensure predictable and sustainable funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia and the Somali National Army are critical.  Failure to address humanitarian needs in Somalia might also undermine the gains of the last two years.

Finally, in Myanmar, the growing polarization between the Buddhist and Muslim communities could undermine the entire reform process.  The Government must speak out strongly and publicly against intolerance, hate speech and impunity, move forward in finding concrete solutions to the problems regarding status and citizenship of the Muslim minority population in Rakhine, and expedite action to address communal tensions and to provide equal justice and protection of the human rights of its people without discrimination.

Once again, thank you for your leadership and engagement.  I wish you all the best for a successful meeting.