The Statement by H.E. Mr. Erlan IDRISSOV, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the 39th OIC CFM in Djibouti

 

Your Excellencies, Ministers and Heads of Delegation,

Your Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC,

Distinguished Delegates,

 

It is my pleasure to be here in Djibouti for this 39th session of the OIC Council of Ministers. I would like to thank our hosts for their hospitality, and compliment them on the efforts that they have made to prepare this event.

Today, when Kazakhstan’s term of Chairmanship of OIC Council of Ministers has come to an end I would like to share with you what has been done since our Chairmanship in terms of tasks that we set in front of ourselves and our Chairmanship, and the priorities on which we have focused our efforts and achievements that we have reached altogether.

As it has been stated in many occasions our primary goal during the Chairmanship was the strengthening of global competitiveness of the Muslim Ummah. We mean political, economic, socio-cultural and ideological competitiveness and we know that this direction craves considerable amount of work and efforts in future as well.

 

Based on this and visionary statement of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev at the 38th CFM in Astana in June 2011 that has laid the foundation for the OIC Astana Declaration we declared modernization and reforms as the major priorities for development of the Islamic world in 21st century. Our country proposed a substantive and topical Chairmanship agenda emphasizing a more active political role for the OIC in the international arena, reform of the Organization including the change of the very name of OIC, promotion of social and economic programs, as well as modernization of the Muslim world. All these measures are designed to lead to strengthening of its global competitiveness.

During the Chairmanship, we have held 38 Islamic and International events which significantly enriched the agenda and practice of the OIC. Major impetus was given to the activities of the OIC organs at the ministerial level: the Member States held five meetings of the Executive Committee, two sessions of the Annual Coordination Meeting at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and a series of conferences on specific issues related to the environment, health and science. In total there were 11 meetings at the ministerial level and this is the biggest number in the history of OIC.

We all know that the past year and half were one of the most dramatic periods in the modern history of Ummah. During that period we have set three principles of the Kazakh Chairmanship, namely, “Peace, Cooperation and Development”, and I believe that we have made progress in all three areas.

Concerning Peace, our biggest challenge has been to manage the situation in the Middle East and the process of transition after the uprisings in many countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

One of the strategic goals of our Chairmanship has been to rally support for Palestine to take its rightful place as a full member of the United Nations. Under Kazakh leadership, the OIC dispatched its first ever delegation to the Holy See to raise the issue of Palestinian sovereignty over Catholic Church property in the occupied territories. We have also actively promoted the Palestinian cause in a number of international fora. Together, we must continue to champion the cause of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent state on the Palestinian territory within the border of 1967, with East Jerusalem as their capital.

Our most important task is to ensure the success of the political transitions that have already been set in motion and creating proper political and economic conditions for statebuilding, and granting political and social economic recovery in those countries as well as preventing the Islamic nations from falling into the hands of extremists and allowing radical and destructive groups to mislead people, dismantle past achievements and destroy the social, ethnic and religious balance. As the Organization, we must continue to do our part of work to contribute to dialogue, stability, and to upholding the values that unite us. This process will definitely take time.

The situation in Syria is a direct threat to international stability. The leadership of this country missed numerous opportunities to meet the legitimate aspirations of its people. The conflict has become increasingly militarized and violence turned into the dominant factor in daily life of Syrians. The humanitarian situation worsens with every passing day and the country is in state of a catastrophic civil war for which the Syrian people are paying a heavy price.

We support all efforts for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria. The activities of the UN and Arab League Envoy Mr. Brahimi are of critical importance. We believe that the only way for all stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful solution is to stop military supplies to both the government and the opposition, and to influence parties to the conflict to negotiate a peaceful future for Syria based on dialogue and broad participation of the Syrian people.

As a pledge of Kazakhstan’s commitment to the OIC led humanitarian assistance to Syria my country allocated 200 thousand dollarsto help Syrian refugees.

Over the past eighteen months, the OIC has taken significant role in promoting peace within its Member States – not only in North Africa and the Middle East, but also in Mali, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Sudan and Somalia. We have also addressed the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. I believe that there is even greater potential for the OIC to develop its conflict prevention and mediation capabilities.

We must also continue to speak out against hatred, intolerance, and Islamophobia, and to condemn all acts of terrorism. And we must work even harder to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue.

Religious dialogue platformsare essential instruments to promote peace and security within the OIC area. The recent Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana clearly demonstrated that peace between religious communities is a strategic asset. In this regard we commend the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz bin Al Saud to set up an International Center for Dialogue between Islamic sects.

Allow me to highlight progress made in relation to the second keyword of our Chairmanship, namely Cooperation.

I believe that since the last CFM the mood within the OIC has been inspired by the cooperative “spirit of Astana”. We are proud that the most obvious manifestation of this was the change in the OIC name in Astana from the Organization of Islamic Conference to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation reflecting the move of our Ummah from Conferences to Cooperation.

Another sign of constructive cooperation was the launch the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission. This is a major step forward, and a legacy which might be considered as one of our biggest achievements in recent years.  

Kazakhstan with the help of other OIC members contributed to the success of the OIC campaign for raising funds for Somalia with total amount of 500 million dollars which became a true symbol of Islamic solidarity.

During our Chairmanship, we have tried to advance the implementation of the OIC Water Concept. I urge you to take further steps next year since 2013 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Adapting to new realities requires deeper interaction of the OIC with other international organizations. In this regard Kazakhstan proposed considering the OIC’s participation in G20 Summit meetings, no least to enhance the international visibility of the OIC, but also because OIC countries cover such a large percentage of humanity. We also promoted more active cooperation with the European Union, the OSCE and encouraged further contacts with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

For Kazakhstan, one of the most important outcomes of our Chairmanship was the adoption by the 38th session of an OIC Plan of Action for Central Asia. We will continue to work through the OIC to implement this Plan – and I call on your support to make it possible.

In the spirit of cooperation, Kazakh monitors took part in election observation missions to Algeria, Kyrgyzstan and Tunisia.

The third priority of our Chairmanship has been Development.

In June 2011 Astana we hosted the 7th World Islamic Economic Forum on the theme of "Global Economic Development”. At that time, President Nazarbayev stressed the need for innovation and diversification to unleash the potential of the economies of the Muslim World. We have also highlighted the need to develop small and medium-sized businesses in order to create a motor for growth and to reduce the likelihood of socio-economic problems. Currently Kazakhstan is working with the Islamic Development Bank to launch a Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Fund.

Kazakhstan is in the third place among countries with the most dynamic economies of the 21st century. Its population of sixteen million contains a growing and increasingly prosperous middle class. At present, Kazakhstan attracted more than $160 billion of foreign investment. Within a short term the GDP per capita rose from $700 to $12,000 and we expect it to reach 24,000 dollars by 2017.

The privilege of prosperity comes with responsibility. Kazakhstan is working on establishing the KazAID Agency, which will channel large-scale technical assistance to the Central Asia countries and other OIC members.

Many OIC countries, including Kazakhstan, are blessed with significant natural resources. These should be developed in a way that does not jeopardize the environment. That is why Kazakhstan is promoting environmentally-friendly development through the “Green Bridge” initiative. We are encouraged by the support that this initiative received at the 5th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers held in Astana in May 2012, and at the Rio +20 conference.

We believe that “green growth” and the challenges of finding a suitable energy mix for all countries deserve even more attention. That is why Kazakhstan has made Future Energy the theme for its bid to host EXPO 2017 in Astana. I hope that we can count on your support when the 157 member counties of the International Exhibitions Bureau vote on November 22nd.

Sustainable development is also vital in relation to food security. The awareness of lack of food security in other OIC countries, motivated Kazakhstan to propose the establishment of the OIC Food Security Office.

We hope that at this session you will support the resolution that would enable the establishment of such an office with its headquarters in Kazakhstan. Furthermore, I would like to inform you that Kazakhstan and the Islamic Development Bank are currently negotiating issues related to the establishment of workable financial mechanisms to create an effective mutual food assistance system across the Islamic world.

Health is essential for development, as well as for the well-being of our peoples. Kazakhstan was proud to host the third Islamic Conference of Ministers of Health in September 2011 in Astana. Further implementation of the OIC Strategic Health Program for 2013-2022 will contribute to meeting of the Millennium Development Goals. As a practical contribution to the OIC General Secretariat activities in the healthcare domain, Kazakhstan will second an officer in a newly established Health Implementation Unit.

 

Excellencies,

As you can see, important steps have been taken since the 38th session of the CFM in Astana. I thank you all for the spirit of cooperation with which you have worked with Kazakhstan during this demanding period.

Much work still lies ahead of us in order to further promote peace, cooperation and development. Rest assured that although Kazakhstan will now be handing over the Chairmanship of the CFM to Djibouti, we will remain actively engaged in OIC matters in order to help move forward the many initiatives that have been taken during our Chairmanship, and to achieve the objectives of the OIC.

We will also continue to work for international peace and security in other fora. Kazakhstan is a candidate to be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. I hope that with your support we will get the chance to occupy this very important for the Islamic world seat.

We are also ready to facilitate the prompt implementation of the initiative of the OIC Secretary General to open six OIC regional offices, including the establishment of one of them in Astana. In response to Secretary General’s appeal Kazakhstan decided to allocate 500 thousand dollars as a voluntary contribution to the budget of the Organization.

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Thank again for your cooperation throughout the past year and a half.

I would like to thank the OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for his close cooperation with Kazakhstan throughout our Chairmanship. As his closest counterparts over the last 18 months we witnessed his unparalleled dedication and personal commitment to the values and goals of the Organization. His efforts to raise the profile and effectiveness of this Organization are exemplary.

I am glad to pass the sincere congratulations of the people and Government of Kazakhstan to Djibouti on the occasion of this significant political event and I convey my best wishes for a successful Chairmanship.

I am proud to mention that in Astana Djibouti became the first ever democratically elected OIC Chairman, and in the spirit of the slogan of this meeting, I am sure that Djibouti will build “Solidarity for Sustainable Development” among the Ummah.

I wish all success to Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssef and his team.

 

Thank you for your attention.

 

 

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