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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
14 June 2004


PRESS RELEASE


Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz Secretary General of the OIC indicated that the Islamic world cannot continue to maintain a position of self-defence or to live outside the age, lagging behind the advance of civilization, as well as in conflict with others, particularly at a time when the gap lying between the Islamic countries and the rest of the world keeps widening at a quick pace and when it is no longer possible to hide behind the notions of self and identity in the midst of the information revolution.

His Excellency was addressing the inaugural meeting of the 31st Session of the ICFM held in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey, on Monday 26 Rabiul Thani 1425H (14 June 2004) whose proceedings were launched under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Turkey, His Excellency Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

In his address the Secretary General went on to say that the Islamic world should take a decisive stand on recovery from the state of lethargy and helplessness and to embark on a course of modernization in order to keep abreast with the times, particularly as its civilizational heritage includes a spiritual and rational system likely to enable it to reform its systems of government and thus become part of the fabric of the world-wide moderate movement.

With regard to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz emphasized that the OIC has not yet succeeded in becoming a voice loud enough to express the causes of Muslims in the international scene, as its charter has not provided specific unitary objectives, even though we are living in an era of major economic and political blocs that have left individual states no room for influence or useful action.

In this regard the Secretary General further stated there is no hope for individual solutions to the crises facing the OIC Member States. He also pointed out that the solution rests on collective action which is based on unifying interests foremost of which are the economic ones, developing Islamic economic action and enhancing Islamic investments.

The Secretary General stated that there are several options of openness in the cultural field and Islamic jurisprudence in order to renew the ideological discourse in the Islamic world, correct the disfigured image of Islam in the West, consolidate our position in the area of dialogue among civilizations, give priority to the role of women in building Islamic society, promote science and technology and encourage investment in the information industry, so that we may achieve a genuine revival by current international standards.

In reviewing the political developments, the Secretary General emphasized that one of the foremost duties of the Organization is to take initiatives to support the Iraqi people so that the transfer of power and sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government can secure, for the Iraqi people, control over their affairs. He also underlined the necessity for the United Nations to play a fundamental and pivotal role in leading Iraq towards the restoration of its full rights and reconstruction.

Regarding the situation in Palestine, the Secretary General stated that, in order to confront successive Israeli maneuvers aimed at freezing action for peace, it is imperative that we should resort to available legal deterrent means to expose these illegitimate practices before international justice authorities, such as the International Criminal Court or other judicial bodies and to urge the despatch of international forces to protect the Palestinian people. He exhorted Islamic states to double their efforts in extending assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The Secretary General also expressed the OIC rejection of the unjustified threats and sanctions and the false accusations directed against Syria and Lebanon, as well as the full support of the Organization to the peoples of these two sisterly states and to the Islamic Republic of Iran which has a right to enjoy full freedom in the use and development of nuclear energy for peaceful developmental purposes.

The Secretary General also addressed other political issues relating to the solidarity of the OIC with Turkish Cypriots, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of the Sudan, and Islamic communities in non-OIC states, as well as world issues concerning international terrorism and human rights.

The Secretary General concluded his speech by addressing the question of the restructuring of the OIC General Secretariat, the rationalization of the resolutions of the Organization and the paucity of available material resources.

The proceedings of this session will continue until Wednesday 16th |June 2004. The Ministers will examine the political, economic, cultural, administrative and financial items included in the agenda, in addition to other organic matters, the most important of which is the election of the new Secretary General of the OIC and the Assistant Secretaries General. In conclusion the Session will adopt a final communiqué and resolutions on the issues submitted for examination.

Istanbul : 14 June 2004

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