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Report of the Secretary-General*
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 12 of General Assembly resolution 55/9 of 30 October 2000.
II. Consultations between representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference and representation at meetings
2. At the invitation of the Emir of the State of Qatar, the Secretary-General participated in the ninth session of the Islamic Summit Conference of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which took place from 12 and 13 November 2000. Qatar assumed the chairmanship of the Islamic Summit Conference for a three-year term, succeeding the Islamic Republic of Iran.
3. On 18 September 2000, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States members of OIC held their annual coordinating meeting at United Nations Headquarters to discuss the agenda of the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session. The coordinating meeting reviewed the international political situation, with special emphasis on issues relevant to the States members of OIC, including the Middle East and the question of Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the situation in Afghanistan, Somalia, the situation relating to the Nagorny-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and the consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait.
4. The Secretary-General of OIC took part in the fourth High-level United Nations-Regional Organizations Meeting, which was held at United Nations Headquarters on 6 and 7 February 2001. This meeting was convened to discuss cooperation for peace-building. OIC submitted a working paper to facilitate discussion at the meeting.
5. The twenty-eighth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers was held from 25 to 27 June 2001 in Bamako. The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs represented the Secretary-General at the meeting and made a statement on his behalf.
6. During the period under review, the United Nations and OIC continued their consultations on political matters, especially concerning ongoing peacemaking efforts, which have become an important dimension in the cooperation between the United Nations and OIC.
7. On the issue of the Middle East, OIC designated a ministerial committee, chaired by the Foreign Minister of Qatar and comprising the Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia, Morocco and Senegal, to participate in a meeting of the Security Council on the item entitled “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”, held on 27 November 2000, and to confer with the Secretary-General. On 26 May 2001, OIC convened in Doha an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers in order to discuss “the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. The Secretary-General was represented by his special envoy, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, who addressed the meeting on his behalf.
III. Follow-up action on recommendations of the meetings between the United Nations system and the Organization of the Islamic Conference
10. Outlined below is a summary of contributions received for the present report from the United Nations system.
C. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
16. The Islamic Development Bank, which was entrusted with the administration of the Al-Aqsa Fund established by the Arab Summit meeting held in Cairo in October 2000, invited the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to participate in an informal meeting of Palestinian and international experts convened in Cairo in January 2001 to consider possible modalities for assessing the long-term development needs of the Palestinian economy and prospects for enhancing its economic cooperation with Arab and Islamic States.
17. The meeting made several recommendations to help guide the Bank’s work programme in this respect and to ensure coordination with related efforts by the Palestinian Authority and the international organizations concerned. In response to a request by the Minister of Economy and Trade of the Palestinian Authority, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO launched an initiative to establish a trust fund to provide urgent technical assistance to the Palestinian Authority to support the Palestinian external trade sector in the light of the economic crisis it had faced since October 2000. In January 2001, a project proposal outline was addressed to donor States and multilateral organizations, including OIC and IDB.
18. During the general meeting between the United Nations and OIC, held in Vienna in July 2000, discussions were held between UNCTAD and the Islamic Centre for the Development of Trade, a subsidiary organ of OIC, on possibilities for establishing a technical assistance cooperation programme, including workshops and seminars in the area of trade. The UNCTAD secretariat prepared a provisional programme for such cooperation which would require raising the necessary funding. The programme was submitted to the Centre.
H. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
29. 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 over the past year included the continuation of contacts with IDB with a view to mobilizing additional resources for UNRWA.
* In accordance with General Assembly resolution 54/248, section C, paragraph 1, the present report was submitted on 24 September so as to include all contributions from the United Nations system.