At the initiative of the OIC Observer Mission to the UN in New York, an Interactive Meeting of the OIC Group of Ambassadors with the Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres took place in the UN Headquarters in New York on 8 May 2017.
The purpose of the meeting was to interact with the UN Secretary General on the priority areas of his agenda and convey views, suggestions and concerns of the OIC Members States on those areas.
In his opening statement, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the UN, H.E. Ambassador Bakhtiyor Ibragimov, in his capacity as the chair of the OIC Group, stressed the importance of cooperation and solidarity between the OIC Member States and the positive impact of such cooperation on the overall activities of the OIC and the UN system.
Durign the meeting, Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the UN, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev welcomed the UN Secretary General as well as other delegates to the event which was organized by the OIC Permanent Observer Mission to the UN in New York. Taking this opportunity, he conveyed warm greetings of the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen and his sincere wishes to the UN Secretary General and to the meeting.
On this occasion, He elaborated on the excellent working relations between the UN and the OIC in various fields and referred to the several UN-OIC consultations at different levels in Jeddah, Geneva and New York to discuss strategic and policy issues, including the biennial meetings which adopted a matrix of well-defined activities as well as the OIC-UN Brainstorming Session on the Middle East on “Reviewing Opportunities for Collaboration between UN and OIC on the Political and Security Situation in the Middle East” scheduled to be held in the OIC General Secretariat, Jeddah.
At the beginning of the meeting, Deputy Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine briefed the delegates on the recent developments pertaining to the issue of Palestine. She stated that the situation continued to deteriorate due to Israeli oppression and 1500 Palestinian captives gone on hunger strike, which represented the most peaceful form of protest against Israel. She urged attention to this crisis and appealed intervention of the UN and States. On the situation in Gaza she explained that 2 million Palestinians still remained under blockade and appealed to the OIC to persist with its calls to put an end to this blockade. As far Israel’s continued expansion of its settlements on Palestinian territories, she asked the OIC Members of the Security Council to uphold their responsibilities on the issue.
The UN Secretary General briefed the meeting in which he particularly focused on the following three priority areas:
1- Palestine: The Secretary General said that they were living in a moment of sensitiveness and all parties to the issue must do their utmost to reach a durable solution. He mentioned that the two-state solution is the only option with no alternative.
2- Myanmar: He termed the issue of Myanmar as the most neglected cause and Rohingyas as the discriminated community. He said that the situation of Rohingya population is specially worth serious attention and follow-up and explained that while they needed to continue helping and supporting Rohingyas in their cause, it is important to remain engaged with Myanmar government. He mentioned the recently passed Human Rights Council resolution and the preliminary report of Annan Commission which would lead to the final report. The UN Secretary General stressed that Rohingya minority should be granted nationality or at least for the short run, legal status or ID by changing their status from illegal migrants to legal migrants in order to be able to travel and do other necessary things.
3- Hatred against Muslims: On anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia, he mentioned that the phenomenon seriously threatens peace and has negative consequences on minorities etc. He stated that the issue serves as a propaganda tool for Daesh, and other terrorist groups to gain credibility among youth and other. He suggested preparing a plan of action on the issue and elaborated further that he would have a series of initiatives with the OIC on the matter. On a suggestion to setting up a task force against terrorism, he proposed 2 or 3 members from the OIC and 2 or 3 members from the UN General Secretariat. He added that terrorism should never be linked to religion and civilization.
During the ensuing discussion, some OIC Member States took the floor and expressed their support to the UN Secretary General in his all three priority areas and the points mentioned therein. They also emphasized on strengthening UN-OIC cooperation and asked for a stronger role of the UN and Security Council on terrorism and violent extremism, growing trend of Islamophobia, human rights and social development, and Rohingya issue. It was suggested that a task force on Islamophobia should be set up by the UN SG in coordination with Member States. While the UN Secretary General was requested to send a fact finding mission to Myanmar, special emphasize was made on the fact that the UN should be more vocal on the issue of Palestine.
The Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan briefed the meeting about the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games as a multinational, multi-sport event which would be held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 12 to 22 May 2017. Previously the event was held in Saudi Arabia in 2005 and in Indonesia in 2013.