Statment by Elmar Mamedyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the 37th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers
Dushanbe, May 19, 2010
Dear Mr. Chairman,
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the pleasure to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan for hosting the 37th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in the charming city of Dushanbe. I would like to thank His Excellency President Emomali Rakhmon and the brotherly people of Tajikistan for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for this important event. I am honoured to congratulate you upon the assumption of the Chairmanship of the Council of Foreign Ministers and I am certain that during your Chairmanship we will achieve the established goals.
In the meantime, I would like to express my appreciation to the outgoing Syrian Chairmanship for its skilful stewardship of the Organization and excellent work done during its tenure.
My words of admiration also go to OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and his team for their professionalism and dedication.
In the period after the 36th CFM session, Azerbaijan has further strengthened its relations and cooperation with the OIC Member States. Azerbaijan places significant importance to the implementation of the OIC Ten-year Programme of Action.
In this regards, I am privileged to inform the esteemed audience that on April 20, the Parliament of Azerbaijan has ratified the OIC Charter, and the relevant Instrument of Ratification has been sent to the OIC Secretary General on May 8.
In recent period, mu country hosted a number of significant OIC events, such as, the First Islamic Conference of the Heads of Law-Enforcement Agencies, the 6th OIC Conference of Culture Ministers, the conference on inter-civilizational dialogue organized jointly with the OIC General Secretariat and dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the OIC. Most recently, on April 26- 27, Baku hosted the summit of world religious leaders, which brought together nearly 250 delegates from 35 countries across the world.
I would like also to emphasize that Azerbaijan’s capital Baku was proclaimed the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2009. A number of cultural events, including numerous concerts, arts exhibitions, presentations, music festivals were held in this period in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan and brought together representatives from many OIC Member States.
It is worth mentioning, that the regional office of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation has been recently inaugurated in Baku. We are certain that the work of the Forum will contribute to strengthening moral values of young generation and engaging in the dialogue among cultures and civilizations, which is so important for the Muslim Ummah.
In the period after the Damascus Ministerial, Azerbaijan has further participated in programmes of humanitarian assistance to a number of the OIC countries, carried out through the OIC and UN frameworks, and we will continue our efforts in this field.
In June, Azerbaijan will host the OIC institutions meeting on the «Road Map for the Promotion of the Intra-OIC Trade» and the 35th Board of Governors Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank.
I would also like to express once again Azerbaijan’s sincere gratitude to the Islamic Ummah and the OIC Secretary General for their invaluable vigorous support to the just cause of Azerbaijan in the ongoing conflict with Armenia and to the elimination of the consequences of the armed aggression by Armenia. Because of this, almost 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory remains under occupation by Armenia, around 1 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. Important OIC decisions on this matter based on the norms and principles of the international law, including respect to territorial integrity, sovereignty, inviolability of the internationally recognised borders of the UN members, 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.
The current situation in a number of the OIC Member States is very disturbing. We remain concerned over the situation in Palestine. Once again, Azerbaijan reiterates its support to the brotherly people of Palestine and their efforts to achieve peace, stability, and establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state. We highly value the work of the General Secretariat to consolidate our Organization in providing much needed assistance to the population in Palestine.
Being deeply worried at the human sufferings in the occupied Golan Heights, I would like to affirm our strong support to the efforts of Syria to recover its full sovereignty over the occupied territories and its commitment to a durable and comprehensive peace in the region.
I would like to express our support to the initiatives taken to move forward the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, and to express our concern with the continuing unjust isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
As a matter of principle, Azerbaijan supports all endeavours of the Governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and other OIC Member States to restore peace and stability in these countries, and strives to make its contribution to the settlement of the conflicts in the Islamic world based on the norms and principles of the international law.
The current situation regarding misunderstanding of Islam in some parts of the world confirms vital necessity to strengthen our joint actions to counter Islamophobia. Efforts to present true and correct image of Islam and its values to non-Muslim world need to be coordinated through appropriate OIC structures, and active dialogue with individual countries and international organizations has to be pursued.
Being an inseparable part of the Islamic civilization with its history, culture, and moral values, Azerbaijan was the first among the former Soviet Muslim republics that applied for the OIC membership in 1991. The development of broad cooperation between Azerbaijan and the OIC is one of the priorities in my country’s foreign policy and bears strategic importance.
As you know, last year Azerbaijan officially proposed to host the 13th Islamic Summit Conference in 2014 in Baku. Considering experience of Azerbaijan in successfully hosting numerous OIC events, including Council of Foreign Ministers and a number of other ministerial meetings, as well as importance we attach to the Organization and our commitment to the goals and objectives of the Organization, it is my privilege today to seek valuable and kind support of brotherly Muslim countries on this matter, which will be highly appreciated by the people of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan believes that its commitment to the goals and objectives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, its active participation in the activities of the Organization and its principled position on the issues crucial for the Islamic Ummah will allow it to be given the honour of hosting the 13th Islamic Summit Conference.
At the end of my presentation, I would like once again to convey my wishes of success to the incoming Chairmanship of Tajikistan and confirm our support to its endeavours.