Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the 40th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
Conakry, December 10, 2013
Dear Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to thank H.E. President Alpha Condé for welcoming us today in a beautiful city - Conakry and for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for the 40th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers that have been provided by the Republic of Guinea and its brotherly people. I also would like to congratulate you upon the assumption of the Chairmanship of the Council of Foreign Ministers and wish you every success in this noble task. I express our deep gratitude to the Republic of Djibouti for its able and successful work during its chairmanship of the Council of Foreign Ministers.
Being closely linked through historical, religious and cultural roots with Islamic Ummah, the Republic of Azerbaijan has always paid particular importance to the development of relations in the political, economic, cultural and other fields with Islamic countries. Due to its geographical location - at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan has been a bridge between civilizations for centuries. Azerbaijan always promoted Islamic cultural and spiritual values all over the world.
The organization and hosting of international events aimed to promote the inter-civilizational contacts such as the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, International Humanitarian Forum as well as the 8th session of UNESCO intergovernmental committee for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage are among the vivid examples of this mission.
In this regard, I would like to stress the importance of the dialogue among civilizations in the modern world. The topic of “Dialogue of civilizations, factor for peace and sustainable development” once again demonstrates that peace is indivisible from dialogue. Dialogue between civilizations has the potential to become an engine for bolstering peace and security, conciliating conflicts, reinforcing cultural diversity and advancing sustainable development. Fostering dialogue among civilizations is crucially important to build tolerance and deepen mutual understanding between people and countries, particularly during the existing certain misperceptions among them.
Azerbaijan has always called for toughened combat against defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred. Today, it is very important to consolidate our efforts within the OIC to prevent existing trends of Islamophobia. The Islamophobia-affected approach towards Muslims is not just unacceptable, it also makes necessary to reinforce dialogue and solidarity among the Muslim countries to counter Islamophobia.
The continued serious challenges that our Islamic World is faces necessitate our enhanced and efficient cooperation within the OIC.
People of Azerbaijan reiterate their full support to brotherly Palestinian people in their struggle for achieving peace, stability and establishment of their independent state. On 11 June 2013 our capital city Baku hosted two OIC Ministerial Conferences: on Support of the Holy City of Al-Quds and on establishment of the Islamic Financial Safety Net to assist the State of Palestine. In order to implement the commitments taken by my country during these conferences, the delegation of Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now holding meetings on the ground with the relevant Palestinian authorities and UN agencies in order to implement the needed social and infrastructure projects.
Azerbaijan reiterates its sincere gratitude to the Islamic Ummah, to each OIC member state and OIC Secretariat for their long standing position in condemnation of the Armenian occupation of 20% of my country’s territories with notorious ethnic cleansing on the seized lands. We are particularly grateful to OIC Member States for their call for immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from all our occupied territories, as it is demanded by the relevant resolutions and decisions of UN Security Council, OIC and other international organizations.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Strengthening cooperation with OIC Member States in political, economic, cultural and other areas is one of the main priorities in the Foreign Policy of the Government of Azerbaijan. Promoting OIC objectives and Islamic values, Azerbaijan is engaged in all the activities and programs being implemented by the OIC. Among them, (1) International Conference on “Strengthening International Cooperation in Preventing Terrorism”, jointly organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and ISESCO on 18-19 March 2013 in Baku under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan; (2) OIC Labor Ministers Conference was held in Baku on 25-26 April 2013 where have been decided to establish OIC Labour Center in Baku; (3) the 4th Islamic Conference of Ministers in charge of Childhood of ISESCO member-nations themed “The Children of the Islamic World and Problems of Urbanization” organized in Baku on November 11-12, 2013. We will be very delighted to host the 5th Session of the Ministerial Conference on Women’s Role in the Development of OIC Member States in the year of 2014 in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is also committed to continue its humanitarian assistance to OIC Member States in need and Azerbaijan International Development Agency together with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) arranged humanitarian aid to nine OIC Member States from Africa as part of the "Fight against avoidable blindness" campaign.
Azerbaijan is very pleased to observe that the cooperation between OIC and UN has become much more significant in recent years and has taken the form of close consultations and collaboration in different areas. Due to the fact that many political conflicts arouse within the OIC region, our Organisation has to be more proactive in dealing with maintaining peace and security issues. Therefore, we consider UN-OIC cooperation as a strategic one, including most and utmost synergy between OIC and UN Security Council.
I would like to refer to a High Level Meeting on UN-OIC Cooperation, convened under Azerbaijan’s Presidency at the UN Security Council on 28 October 2013. This high-level meeting offered an unprecedented opportunity to review the current state of cooperation between the OIC and the UN Security Council, also to explore ideas and measures able to help to enhance the partnership synergy between the two organizations towards deeper cooperation in promoting peace and security. I believe this initiative of my country will be supported further on by other Member States of OIC during their membership in the UN Security Council.
Another regional organization the Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking States, to which the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Turkey are members, concurrently members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as well, applied to the OIC for obtaining Observer Status. As the Chairman-in-Office of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking States, Azerbaijan believes that participation of our organisation as a regional cooperation mechanism in the work of OIC, by obtaining Observer Status, will contribute to the achievement of goals shared by both of these organisations.
I also express my sincere gratitude to OIC Secretary-General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and his highly dedicated team for the professionalism in realization of the goals and principles of our Organization and for the outstanding work done under his guidance. Speaking on the period during Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu’s tenure, it should be noted that the OIC has carried out great initiatives and reforms as well as took serious steps as the largest intergovernmental organization serving the Muslim Ummah.
I avail myself of this pleasant opportunity to congratulate H.E. Mr. Iyad Al Madani as the next Secretary-General and would like to wish all success in implementation of His noble duties. I am confident that through our joint efforts we will be able to successfully pursue the noble aims for assurance of peace, stability and prosperity of each country of the Islamic Ummah.