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  June 2004


Current Affairs
OIC Foreign Ministers’ Declaration
on June 14 in Istanbul

We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation participating in the Thirty-First Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Istanbul hereby declare:

  1. We reaffirm our commitment to the purposes, objectives and principles of our Organization, as enshrined in its Charter.

  2. We derive strength and confidence from Islam, a religion of peace, harmony and tolerance. It inspires us in achieving freedom, peace and prosperity.

  3. We have taken full stock of the developments that characterize the current international scene and agreed to assert our collective will more effectively with the sole objective of achieving justice, peace and harmony.

  4. We are resolved to pursue the peaceful settlement of all international issues and spend efforts to persuade all parties concerned to act accordingly.

  5. We call on all concerned to address the question of Palestine and the wider Arab-Israeli conflict as a matter of urgent priority. The objective is to achieve full statehood for Palestine living side by side with Israel within secure and recognized boundaries. This settlement can only be the outcome of direct negotiations between the two parties. Equally, the Syrian and Lebanese tracks must be brought to their successful conclusion on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. We have thus decided to support and closely monitor efforts towards comprehensive peace and to declare that the successful outcome of these efforts will be fully embraced by the OIC.

  6. We support the steps towards ending the occupation in Iraq. We equally support the process in which the Iraqis will assume their sovereignty. We state that this assumption of authority must be full. Also the political transition towards the formation of an elected government must be totally inclusive and transparent. We welcome in this respect the unanimous adoption of resolution 1546 by the United Nations Security Council which sets the framework for this transition. We have decided to actively assist Iraq in its transition and in meeting its needs.

  7. We will continue to support Afghanistan’s re-building process. We reiterate our principled position on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir shouldbe fully respected and their will honoured in accordance with international legitimacy.
    We likewise support the resolution of the Azeri-Armenian conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
    We equally support efforts towards resolving all other issues preoccupying the OIC.

  8. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and express deep sympathy and support for those countries which have become victims of such attacks. We agree to redouble our efforts in fighting this international scourge.

  9. We commend the Turkish Cypriot people for overwhelmingly endorsing the UN Settlement Plan, on the unification of the Island, based on a new bi-zonal partnership of the two politically equal constituent States. We welcome and support the report of the UN Secretary-General, of 28 May 2004, as well as the conclusions and recommendations contained therein. We also support the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General.
    In view of the fundamentally changed circumstances in Cyprus following the 24 April 2004 referenda, we decide to take steps in putting an end to the unjust isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. In the same vein, we look forward to similar action by the international community and bodies.

  10. We are determined to carry on with our political, economic, social and cultural progress as sovereign nations, and assist each other in our homegrown efforts.
    In expression of our confidence in our strength and values, and with a view to deepening interaction within the OIC as well as to strengthening understanding and cooperation at global level, we set out the following framework and course of action:
    We are sovereign nations who work for political, economic, social and cultural progress. We value our freedom and the equality of our ‘ citizens. We all aim to strengthen the representative character and the democratic practices of our governments. We are all determined to provide contemporary education to our new generation. We will pursue vigorously the economic and social development of our societies, and will deploy efforts to eradicate poverty.
    We, as the OIC members, will assist each other in our progress and reform, which should come from within. The OIC, as an institution, will also develop ways and means for supporting progress in a collective framework. In this context, we welcome the concept of Enlightened Moderation.
    The OIC will likewise establish institutional relations with other regional and international organizations for the purpose of fostering intra and inter-regional cooperation for drawing support for the OIC projects.

  11. We look forward to the Second Meeting of the OIC-EU Joint Forum that will convene in Istanbul between 4 and 5 October 2004, which will be an important opportunity for strengthening international cooperation and understanding.

  12. Finally, we reiterate our will to stay closer to each other and strengthen our solidarity while navigating through these difficult times.
World Muslim Congress Memorandum

The World Muslim Congress, which has Observer Status with the Organisation of Islamic Conference, was representated at the ICFM meeting by its Secretary General Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq. He presented the following memorandum at the conference.

  1. “Let me on behalf of World Muslim Congress and on my own behalf, at the outset congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your assuming the leadership of ICFM. We hope, with your vast experience and commitment, the organization shall be able to improve its working and come up to the expectations of the general masses of Muslims, around the globe, as it is the only organization representing their hopes and aspirations, in this troubled world.

  2. The world has witnessed tremendous upsurge of sentiments against the war, as well as against action weakening the UN system. These demonstrations were quite impressive in the western democracies. Recent elections in the member countries of the European Union have officially shown the trend of thinking in the West.

  3. It is time when the OIC should take the initiative in seeking a broader coalition to solve the perennial issues of Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya through dialogue and negotiations to avoid the spiral of violence and continuing bloodshed, as well as loss of precious resources, needed to develop and provide a decent living to the people of these regions.

  4. The issues before the OIC are so grave that only resolutions are considered one as a ritual. We suggest that either some issues are presented before specialized commissions to resolve them or more frequent meetings are held to make these deliberations result oriented. OIC should try to remove the impression that it has been rendered into a body incapable of taking even minimum practical steps and only goes through the ritual of dusting up old resolutions and renewing them. This way the very credibility of this organization is at serious stake in the eyes of friends and foes.

  5. While it is encouraging to witness a good number of non-Muslim countries striving to get an Observer status in the OIC, it also poses a danger of softening of the stance of this organization towards conflicts which involve Muslim minorities suffering suppression, genocide and expulsions. There has to be a regular criteria to admit non-Muslim countries as Observers, as it is a very delicate issue which, to say the least, is like a double edged weapon. All other international organizations have a laid down criteria, so nobody can object to OIC adopting the same procedure.

  6. The OIC should have a pro-active net working with other organizations like European Union, Organization of African Union and ASEAN.

  7. The NGOs associated with OIC should be provided, like the UNO, with a proper forum, to contribute more effectively in the achievement of objectives of OIC so that their inputs ar utilized both at the Foreign Ministers as well as the Summit level. There should be a separate section of the OIC Secretariat constantly in liaison with NGOs associated with the OIC. We feel that with the election of the new Secretary General Mr. Ekmeledin Ehsanoglu, this organization will pay greater attention to the evolution of a consultative process involving the NGOs, as he himself came up through a very active organization in the same system.

  8. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for giving us an opportunity of presenting our views before this august body.