Dear Mr. Chairman,
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for organizing this Annual Coordination Meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.
In the meantime, I would like to express my gratitude to the Republic of Tajikistan on a successful hosting of the 37th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Dushanbe and on assumption of the Chairmanship of the OIC Group in New York. I assure you my country\'s full cooperation in facilitating your work.
The Organization of the Islamic conference as the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations has made significant contribution to the UN efforts in maintaining international peace and security, in promoting Islamic causes and in protecting Muslim minorities through out the world.
Enhancement of solidarity among the OIC Member States in the international organizations, particularly in the framework of the United Nations, is of paramount importance in addressing the OIC Member States’ common pending issues. In this regard, the tendency to avoid abiding by the relevant OIC resolutions in the UN should be resolutely prevented as it damages the common interests of the Ummah and misrepresents the image of our Organization.
The Palestinian cause and the question of Al-Quds Al-Sharif still remain important for the Islamic Ummah and require a unified stand of the OIC Member States in international fora. We reaffirm our support to the Palestinian Government and we believe that new round of negotiations will be held in a constructive way so that to contribute to the process of resolving the problems of the region with a view to achieving the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State.
We are deeply concerned at the humanitarian situation in brotherly Pakistan. The flood affected several regions of the country and thousands of people died or became homeless. In this regard we have to realize the full potential of the OIC and the Muslim states to provide so badly needed aid and assistance to prevent humanitarian disaster in Pakistan. Azerbaijan has already provided humanitarian aid to this brotherly country and is ready to continue it. In recent years Azerbaijan has continued its active participation in humanitarian assistance programmers to a number of the OIC Member States carried out through the OIC and UN frameworks, and we will further continue these efforts.
Azerbaijan also supports the efforts undertaken by the Governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and other OIC Member States to restore peace and security in these countries.
As a strong supporter of Islamic countries cause, I am pleased to inform the distinguished colleagues that Azerbaijan has put forward its candidacy for a non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council, for the term of 2012-2013, at the elections to be held in 2011 at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. Proceeding from the importance of representing the OIC in the Security Council we rely on the continued support by the Member States to the candidacy of Azerbaijan.
Islamophobia which is regretfully on the rise in a number of countries around the world has inflicted heavy emotional and psychological cost on millions of Muslims. Serious instances of intolerance, discrimination, and attacks against Islam in some countries in recent years confirm the need to combat defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred. The defamation of a religion under the guise of freedom of expression is a new and contemporary form of discrimination and intolerance. As civilized societies, we must exercise our freedom with care and within the parameters of internationally accepted norms. We strongly support the OIC\'s efforts aimed at exploring the possibility of evolving a binding international framework to prevent the defamation of all religions. These efforts should be coordinated through appropriate OIC structures, and more active dialogue with individual countries and international organizations is needed.
I would also like to express once again Azerbaijan’s sincere gratitude to the Islamic Ummah and the OIC Secretary General for their support to the just cause of Azerbaijan in the ongoing armed conflict with Armenia as a result of which almost twenty percent of Azerbaijan’s territory is presently under occupation by Armenia, around one million Azerbaijanis have been ethnically cleansed from their native lands, and thousands of Azerbaijani cultural and historical monuments, including of Islamic heritage were devastated and looted.
Numerous OIC decisions and resolutions on the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan and support of the OIC Member States have been instrumental in addressing the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by the international community, in particular by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council.
The Government of Azerbaijan remains committed to the peaceful settlement of this protracted conflict based on the respect for the norms and principles of international law, implementation of the relevant UN Security Council and OIC resolutions as well as appropriate documents and decisions adopted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Council of Europe and European Parliament.
I would also like to inform the distinguished colleagues that Azerbaijan has officially appealed to the OIC Member States with the proposal to host the 13th Islamic Summit in 2014 in Baku. Holding such an important OIC event in Baku will be the first Islamic Summit to be organized in the post-Soviet area, and will advance the role and influence of the OIC in the countries of the Caspian and Black Sea regions and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Considering experience of Azerbaijan in successfully hosting numerous OIC events, including Council of Foreign Ministers and several sectoral ministerial meetings as well as our commitment to the goals and objectives of the Organization I take this advantage to ask your Governments to support our candidacy.
In conclusion, I would like to convey our best wishes and successful deliberations to the General Assembly and also to express our cordial gratitude to OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for his outstanding work for the benefit of the Islamic Ummah.