Question of Palestine home
2 September 1999
Item 29 of the provisional agenda*
Cooperation between the United Nations and
the Organization of the Islamic Conference
Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference
Report of the Secretary-General
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 12 of General Assembly resolution 53/16 of 29 October 1998.
II. Consultations between representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference and representation at meetings
2. On 1 October 1998 the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) held their annual coordinating meeting at United Nations Headquarters to discuss the agenda of the fifty-third session of the General Assembly, in particular those items of concern and interest to OIC. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahima Fall represented the Secretary-General at that meeting and, as in previous years, senior members of the Department of Political Affairs participated in the meeting as observers. The meeting was chaired by Sheikh Hamad bin Jasm bin Jabr Al-Thani, the Foreign Minister of Qatar.
3. The coordinating meeting reviewed the international political situation, with specific attention to the Middle East and the question of Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the situation in Afghanistan, Somalia, the situation relating to Nagorny Karabakh, the consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait and the situation pertaining to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Security Council resolutions 731 (1992) and 883 (1993). The issue of United Nations reform, including the expansion and reform of the Security Council, was also discussed. The meeting admitted Guyana as the fifty-sixth member State of OIC.
4. The Permanent Observer of OIC to the United Nations, Ambassador Mokhtar Lamani, and other senior members of the OIC observer mission participated actively in the first follow-up meeting, organized by the Department of Political Affairs, between the United Nations and regional organizations. This working-level meeting, which took place on 10 and 11 December 1998, was convened as a follow-up to the high-level gathering of regional organizations held at United Nations Headquarters on 28 and 29 July 1998. OIC had also participated in this high-level meeting, which dealt with cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. The working-level meeting in December focused on conflict prevention.
5. Mr. Fall also represented the Secretary-General at the Organization
s twenty-sixth session of foreign ministers, which was convened in Ouagadougou from 28 June to 1 July 1999.
6. During the period under review, the United Nations and OIC continued their consultations on political matters, especially those concerning ongoing peacemaking efforts, which have become a new and very important dimension in the cooperation between the United Nations and OIC. The secretaries-general of the two organizations had a number of bilateral meetings during the period. Among other things they discussed the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Kosovo. Both organizations continue to hold regular consultations, in particular at the level of the Department of Political Affairs and the Permanent Observer Mission of OIC to the United Nations, on the conflict situations in Afghanistan, Somalia and Tajikistan. With regard to the conflict in Afghanistan, both organizations remained in very close contact and exchanged views on issues such as joint initiatives and missions and the peacemaking efforts by the Secretary-General
s Special Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi. As regards Tajikistan, OIC has remained a member of the Contact Group established as part of the implementation phase of the Tajik peace process.
III. Follow-up action on recommendations of the meetings between the United Nations system and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, including cooperation in the field of economic and social development
7. Outlined below is a summary of contributions received for the present report from organizations of the United Nations system. It should be noted that a number of these contributions focus on programmes taking place in States members of OIC rather than on joint activities and/or programmes implemented in cooperation with institutions of OIC.
I. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
21. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) continues to enjoy the support of OIC in its efforts to provide essential services and humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees. Cooperation between UNRWA and OIC is reinforced by meetings between representatives of the two organizations, including the Commissioner-General of UNRWA. The Agency has continued to deepen contacts with the OIC secretariat and with the Islamic Development Bank. A delegation of the Islamic Development Bank visited the West Bank in November 1998 to discuss the Agency
s education programme and the possibility of Bank funding for UNRWA school infrastructure.
22. UNRWA has long-standing working relationships with a number of OIC member States, in particular the Governments of Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, where the Agency has operations providing services to 2.2 million Palestine refugees. Those Governments, as well as the Governments of Egypt and Turkey, are members of the UNRWA Advisory Commission. UNRWA has a close working relationship with the Palestinian Authority in respect of services provided to the 1.3 million Palestine refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and with the Palestine Liberation Organization on matters pertaining to refugee issues.
23. UNRWA continues to benefit from the support of OIC member States to the Agency
s regular budget and special assistance programmes. In 1998, 14 member States (Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates) and the Palestine Liberation Organization contributed approximately $5 million in cash and in kind to the Agency's regular budget. Since the relocation of the Agency's headquarters to the area of operations in July 1996, the Commissioner-General has paid official visits to a number of OIC member States in the Gulf region and South-East Asia, including Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.