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I have the honour, in my capacity as Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Group in New York, to transmit herewith the text of the Final Communiqué of the Annual Coordination Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2006 (see annex).
I should be grateful if you would have the text of the present letter and its annex circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under items 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 24, 25, 31, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 42, 44, 47, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 62, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 81, 87, 90, 93, 96, 100, 102, 108 (q), 109, 110, 111, 112 and 113, and of the Security Council.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC Member States held their Annual Coordination Meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 25 SEPTEMBER 2006, under the chairmanship of His Excellency Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Representative of the UN Secretary General attended the meeting. The Meeting, after deliberation, adopted the following:
PALESTINE AND AL-QUDS AL-SHARIF
13. The Meeting reaffirmed the centrality of the cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif for the whole Islamic Ummah. It affirmed the Arab nature of East Jerusalem and the need to defend the sanctity of Islamic and Christian holy places. It reiterated its condemnation of the attempts by Israel, the occupying Power, to change the status, demographic composition and the character of East Jerusalem, in particular by its illegal colonization practices, including its settlement activities and construction of the Wall in and around the City.
14. The Meeting condemned the ongoing and intensifying Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people by which Israel, the occupying Power, has continued to commit grave human rights violations and war crimes, including the killing and injuring of Palestinian civilians by use of disproportionate and indiscriminate force as well as the continued practice of extrajudicial executions, the vast destruction of properties, infrastructure and agricultural lands, and the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children. It demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease all such violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law.
15. The Meeting strongly condemned Israel’s continuation and escalation of its military aggression and acts of State terror against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which have resulted in the killing and injury of hundreds of civilians, including women and children, and the deliberate and wanton destruction of Palestinian property and vital infrastructure. It stressed that such unlawful actions by the occupying Power constitute grave breaches of international law, i.e. war crimes, for which the perpetrators must be held accountable and brought to justice. It called for the immediate cessation of Israel’s military aggression and collective punishment against the Palestinian people and called for Israel’s scrupulous compliance with all of its legal obligations under international law, including under the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also called for the withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from within the Gaza Strip, for Israel to fulfill its responsibility to repair all damages caused to the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, and for the immediate release of all Palestinian officials detained by Israel, the occupying Power, since 28 June 2006.
16. The Meeting condemned Israel’s continued imposition of collective punishment upon the Palestinian people, including in particular the severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods via closures and hundreds of checkpoints, some of which have been transformed into structures similar to permanent international border crossings, including at Qalandiya and Bethlehem, in the middle of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, away from the 1967 border (Green Line). It stressed that such illegal Israeli practices are in effect strangling the Palestinian economy and society, are physically severing the northern, central and southern parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory into separate and isolated areas, and are undermining its territorial integrity and contiguity.
17. The Meeting reiterated its deep concern at the intensifying hardships being faced by the Palestinian people during the current period following the 25 January 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council and the increasing financial and political isolation being imposed on the Palestinian Authority by some members of the international community in the aftermath of the elections. It called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to refrain from withholding tax revenue transfers due to the Palestinian Authority, which is deepening the financial crisis of the Authority. The Meeting rejected the punishment of the Palestinian people for the democratic election of their representatives, and instead reaffirmed the necessity of upholding international law, international humanitarian law, including in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter with regard to the question of Palestine under all circumstances.
18. The Meeting affirmed its full support and backing for the Palestinian people in strengthening their national unity and unifying their internal front; and expressed its support for the Palestinian national dialogue efforts and for its steadfastness in the face of the illegal Israeli policies and practices. It welcomed the adoption in June 2006 of the Palestinian National Conciliation Document.
19. The Meeting reiterated its grave concern and strong condemnation regarding Israel’s continuing intensive campaign of settler colonialism, including vast land confiscations and the construction and expansion of illegal settlements, and condemned Israel’s intentions to proceed with the dangerous and illegal E-1 plan in and around Occupied East Jerusalem as well as its declared plans to illegally annex the Jordan Valley. Furthermore, the Meeting stressed the dangers of the Israeli Government’s continuing unilateral measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and expressed their rejection of its declared intentions to proceed with further unlawful unilateral plans in the West Bank. It reaffirmed that such plans are unlawful, unacceptable and cannot alter the terms of reference of the peace process nor negate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
20. The Meeting reiterated its condemnation of Israel’s continuing construction of the Wall throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, in flagrant violation of international law and disregard for the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004. It expressed its deep concern at the physical, economic and social devastation being caused by the Wall, which is dissecting the Territory into several walled and isolated cantons and severing Occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In this regard, it further reiterated that, if completed, the Wall, along with Israel’s illegal settlement campaign and fortification of illegal checkpoints, will render the two-State solution impossible to achieve. It therefore stressed the urgency and obligation of respect for and compliance with both the Advisory Opinion and resolution ES-10/15 by Israel, the occupying power, by Member States and by the United Nations. It also expressed its disappointment at the lack of progress made by the UN Secretariat in establishing the register of damages caused by the Wall, as called for in resolution ES-10/15, and called upon the UN Secretary-General to exert all necessary efforts to expedite this matter. It also called on the Security Council to undertake its responsibilities by adopting a clear resolution and undertaking necessary measures in this regard. The Meeting called upon Member States to undertake measures, including by means of legislation collectively, regionally and individually, to prevent any products of the illegal Israeli settlements from entering their markets consistent with the obligations under international treaties, to decline entry to Israeli settlers and to impose sanctions against companies and entities involved in the construction of the wall and other illegal action in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
21. The Meeting called for the urgent intensification of efforts by the Quartet and the entire international community, in particular the Security Council, to address the current political and humanitarian crisis, leading to the revival of the peace process and the resumption of negotiations between the two sides and the full and honest implementation of the Road Map towards ending the occupation of the Palestinian Territory that was occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and thus realizing the two-State solution. It also called on the Quartet to engage the Security Council, considering the Council’s Charter authority and responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It also emphasized the importance of the decisions of the recent Arab Summit in Khartoum, the Sudan, especially the call for reinvigoration of the Arab Peace Initiative adopted in Beirut, Lebanon, on 28 March 2002.
22. The Meeting reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the United Nations, including the General Assembly and the Security Council, towards the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all its aspects on the basis of international law, including a just resolution to the plight of the refugees in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194(III) of 11 December 1948. It called upon the United Nations to increase its efforts towards the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace settlement, based on the two-State solution, and on relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) as well as agreed principles, which call for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and all other occupied Arab territories and the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to exercise self-determination and sovereignty in their independent State of Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
23. The Meeting recalled General Assembly resolution 58/292 of 6 May 2004, on the “Status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, and stressed the need for follow-up in ensuring that Israeli credentials to the United Nations do not cover the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem.
24. The Meeting outlined the fundamental role of Al-Quds Committee, chaired by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, and its tireless efforts to revive the peace process in order to reach a comprehensive, lasting and just peace in the Middle East, contributing to stand up for the legitimacy of the Palestinian’s people cause, to preserve the Holy Lands of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and its particular spiritual dimension.
25. The Meeting reiterated the need to grant the necessary support to the “Bayt Mal A-Quds Al-Sharif” Agency for the implementation of its program and plan of action in the fields of urbanism, education and health, taking into account the humanitarian conditions, which prevail inside the Palestinian Territories.
26. The Meeting condemned Israel, the occupying Power, for the excavation works around and beneath the blessed Al -Aqsa Mosque and for willfully destroying cultural and heritage sites in Al-Quds Al-Sharif, Nablus and Al-Khaleel (Hebron), and commended the initiative of the Director General of UNESCO concerning the preservation of the historical heritage of the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. In this regard, it resolved to coordinate between the OIC General Secretariat and UNESCO, and invited the Member States to support this initiative and help implement it.
27. The Meeting strongly condemned the continuous threats against Islamic and Christian holy places, particularly the threats to storm and damage the blessed Al- Aqsa Mosque, and held Israel, the occupying Power, fully responsible for the consequences of these aggressions, particularly as they happen under the eyes and protection of Israeli occupation forces. It also condemned acts of terrorism committed by illegal Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and peace activists coming from all parts of the world to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
28. The Meeting took note of and called for immediate implementation of resolution S-1/Res.1 adopted by the First Special Session of the Human Rights Council on 6 July 2006 in which it demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, end the military operation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, abide scrupulously by the provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and refrain from imposing collective punishment on Palestinian civilians”, and also urged Israel to “immediately release the arrested Palestinian Ministers, members of the Palestinian legislative Council and others, as well as all others arrested Palestinian civilians. The Meeting requested the OIC Group in Geneva to ensure the implementation of resolution S-1/Res.1, in particular the urgent dispatch of an urgent fact-finding mission headed by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
29. The Meeting expressed its full support for the decision taken by the governments of Costa Rica and El Salvador to move their embassies from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. It reaffirmed all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions relating to Jerusalem conforming that it is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territory, and that all Israeli measures aimed at altering the legal, geographic and demographic character and status of Jerusalem are null and void.
30. The Meeting strongly condemned Israel’s policy of refusing to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981) concerning the occupied Syrian Golan and its policies of annexation, building of colonial settlements, confiscation of land, diversion of water sources and imposition of Israeli nationality upon Syrian citizens. It also demanded Israel to completely withdraw from the occupied Syrian Golan to the June 4th 1967 lines in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the principle of land for peace, the Madrid Peace Conference terms of reference and the Arab Peace Initiative, adopted by the Beirut Arab Summit on 28 March 2002. The meeting also demanded Israel to release all Syrian detainees citizens of the Syrian occupied Golan, taking into consideration that some of them have been detained for more than 20 years.
31. The Meeting condemned threats against some Member States, particularly the Syrian Arab Republic, and condemned the decision of the US Administration to impose unilateral economic sanctions against Syria. It also condemned the so-called “Syria Accountability Act”. It urged Member States to further strengthen their brotherly ties with Syria in all fields.
32. The Meeting expressed strong condemnation of the relentless Israeli aggression launched against Lebanon and the serious violations by Israel of the Lebanese territorial integrity and sovereignty, and in this regard charged Israel with full responsibility for the consequences of its aggression.
33. The Meeting expressed solidarity with and support for the Government and people of Lebanon, hailed their heroic resistance to the Israeli aggression, and emphasized the primordial importance of Lebanon’s national unity and stability.
34. The Meeting strongly condemned the indiscriminate and massive Israeli air strikes and shelling on Lebanese towns and villages targeting civilians, civil infrastructure and private properties which constitute a serious breach of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, International Law and International Humanitarian Law, and blatant and flagrant violations of Human Rights.
35. The Meeting strongly convinced that there should be no impunity for violations by Israel of International Law and International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and that Israel should be held accountable for its crimes. Furthermore Israel should, without further delay, surrender all the maps of the land mines it had planted in Lebanon to the United Nations as these mines are causing a lot of death and terror among both the civilian population and the Lebanese Army recently deployed south of the Litani River.
36. The Meeting called for a strict implementation of UNSCR 1701 (2006), and in this respect called for an immediate and complete cease fire, and for the complete lift of the air, sea, and land blockade imposed by Israel on Lebanon’s territories, and for the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon with full respect for the Blue Line and the sovereignty of Lebanon in land, sea, and air and for an undertaking to release the Lebanese and Israeli detainees and prisoners through the ICRC.
37. The Meeting welcomed the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in the region south of Litani River, such that there will be no weapon or authority other than that of the Lebanese State as stipulated in the Taef National Reconciliation Document, and called on States to expedite their contribution to Lebanon as requested by UNSCR 1701 (2006), and expressed gratitude for States which declared their intention to contribute.
38. The Meeting expressed full support for the Seven-Point Plan presented by the Lebanese Government, and emphasized the importance of the contribution of the United Nations in settling the issue of the Sheba’a Farms in accordance with the proposal mentioned in the aforementioned Seven-Point Plan and with UNSCR 1701 (2006), and called upon all relevant parties to cooperate with the United Nations to reach a solution to the Sheba’a Farms issue which protects Lebanon’ sovereign rights in that area.
39. The Meeting called for a generous contribution to the current humanitarian relief efforts, and urged the international community to support Lebanon on all levels in facing the tremendous burden resulting from the human, social and economic tragedy, and in enhancing the Lebanese national economy. In this regard, the Meeting welcomed the results of the Donor’s Conference held in Stockholm on 31st August 2006 for early recovery, and encourages the international community to participate in the Conference which will be organized by the Lebanese Government to support the reconstruction in Lebanon.
40. The Meeting held Israel responsible for the loss of lives and suffering as well as the destruction of properties and infrastructure, and demanded Israel to compensate the Republic of Lebanon and its people for the losses sustained resulting from Israel’s aggression.
41. The Meeting, pursuant to the failure of other means, emphasized the necessity of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict based on relevant UNSC Resolutions and through the Security Council in an exceptional initiative that will lead to the establishment of a just, permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East as was calculated for by the Arab League.
42. The Meeting welcomed the adoption by the Special Meeting of the Extended Executive Committee of the OIC, Putrajaya, Malaysia on 3 August 2006, of the Putrajaya Declaration on the Situation in Lebanon and the Putrajaya Declaration on the Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
43. The Meeting endorsed the recommendations of the Ninth Conference of the Liaison Officers of Islamic Regional Offices of Boycott of Israel, which was held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat in Jeddah from 13 to 15 March 2005.
44. The Meeting took note and called for the immediate implementation of the resolution A/HRC/S-2/L-2 adopted by the 2nd Special Session of Human Rights Council (HRC) concerning the Israeli grave violations of human rights in Lebanon.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS:
118. The Meeting expressed its appreciation and full satisfaction for the laudable collective efforts of the OIC Group in Geneva to coordinate and harmonize the positions of the OIC Member States within the Human Rights Council; to deployed collective and intensive efforts to enable newly established HRC to take concrete measures for the respect and protection of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories; and Lebanon; to placed two crucial issues for the OIC namely occupied Palestinian territories and incitement to racial and religious hatred and the promotion of tolerance at the top of the permanent agenda of the Human Rights Council.