I, too would like to thank the Azerbaijani delegation, and you in particular, Mr. President, for organizing this debate on strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has facilitated the Council’s consideration, for the first time, of the issue of cooperation between the two institutions in terms of the Council’s work. I thank the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and of the OIC for their respective briefings. I especially congratulate Mr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu whose mandate will soon expire, for his leading role as head of the OIC in promoting Islamic principles of solidarity, tolerance and moderation. Similarly, I congratulate Mr. Iyad Madani on his election as Secretary-General of the OIC. We are confident that under his leadership the organization will continue to make a valuable contribution to building a more peaceful and prosperous world.
Today’s world is witnessing political upheavals in Africa and the Middle East taking place within and around the Muslim world that call for intensified efforts among regional organizations and the United Nations, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. Togo welcomes the OIC’s active role in speaking on behalf of the Muslim world in international efforts, including United Nations efforts to resolve such conflicts and crises. In that respect, we especially recall OIC initiatives including the appointment of a special envoy for Mali and the Sahel, mediation efforts to facilitate negotiations among the armed movements in Darfur and the Sudan, the OIC’s support for the high-level efforts on inter-Afghan relation and its support for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. With respect to those conflicts, the OIC has participated as a strategic partner of the United Nations in seeking solutions and ensuring support for humanitarian issues.
My country urges the OIC to further its constructive role through greater investment in conflict-prevention efforts. In that respect, it is crucial that the OIC further strengthen internal unity and solidarity to end the rivalries between some of its member States, which threaten the achievement of negotiated solutions to conflicts in those countries. In the same vein, we welcome the establishment, on 20 March, of a peace, security and mediation unit under the auspices of the OIC Secretary-General in Jeddah, as well as the close cooperation established with the United Nations Mediation Support Unit. We believe that the unit’s establishment will strengthen the OIC’s role and capacity in using mediation as a tool in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Moreover, while welcoming the establishment in 2011 of the OIC Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights, Togo calls on the OIC to urge its States members to rapidly implement its 10-year programme of action, in particular as it pertains to good governance and the promotion of human rights in the Muslim world, especially the rights of women and children. Those measures will contribute to reducing factors leading to crises within the Muslim world and its individual States,
Increasing intolerance and discrimination due to religious belief or conviction today seriously threaten global peace and security. In that context, Togo urges the United Nations, the OIC and the entire international community to pursue, through consensus rather than confrontation, efforts under way to facilitate the coexistence of principles valued by our States- freedom of expression and combating all forms of religious discrimination and intolerance. In that context, Togo particularly welcomes the work of the Istanbul Process as well as the interfaith dialogue and cooperation efforts of the General Assembly.
Nevertheless, the evolution in recent years within States members of the OIC- particularly African States- of the terrorism phenomenon remains a source of great concern. Criminal groups are threatening the stability in Africa in the name of religion and are expanding their areas of operations to sow further terror. In that regard, further strengthening and support of the dynamic cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC in the fight against that scourge is crucial in order to ensure strengthened capabilities of OIC member States to face the threat. However, it is important that the response to the phenomenon not remain confined to the area of security alone, but that it takes into account the development dimension in affected areas and ensure good governance and respect for human rights.
Many areas of cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC require development and further strengthening commensurate with the significant challenges to international peace and security. The facilitation of a political process capable of ending conflicts, especially in Syria, should become a priority. We therefore urge both institutions to continue to interact and share their experiences. In that regard, it is my delegation’s belief that progressive implementation of the framework adopted in Geneva in 2012, and identifying the areas of cooperation planned between the United Nations and the OIC, should become the priority approach of focused efforts.