A delegation from Kazakhstan led by Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov took part in the 12th summit of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which opened on Feb.6 in Egypt’s capital, Cairo.
It was the first time that the leaders of OIC member states gathered under the organisation’s new name, which it received at a Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Astana on June 28, 2011, during Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the body.
The two-day summit was attended by 26 heads of state and government representatives from Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other countries. They discussed the full range of issues and challenges faced by the Islamic world.
Foreign Minister Idrissov presented a report and held bilateral meetings with OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and colleagues from other OIC member states.
In his report, Idrissov presented Kazakhstan’s positions on topical problems in the Islamic world. He said the Islamic community needed to resolve fundamental problems dealing with peace, progress and meeting the needs of ordinary people. He said Kazakhstan was committed to ensuring stability in OIC nations.
Kazakhstan’s foreign minister stressed the importance of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s initiative to convene the Conference of Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which has become a dialogue platform uniting 24 countries.
At the central working session on New Challenges and Opportunities of the Islamic World, delegates discussed conflicts in Muslim countries and ways of cooperation in overcoming their severe humanitarian consequences. They also explored advancing multi-faceted cooperation among OIC member states within the 10-year action plan until 2015.
The conference focused on the current conflicts in Mali and Syria. Delegates also discussed ongoing threats to regional security in Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen and other OIC member states.
At a meeting of foreign ministers before the summit, Secretary General Ihsanoglu repeated the OIC’s solidarity with Mali and support for its efforts to preserve its sovereignty on all its territory.
The tragedy of the Syrian people was addressed by all speakers. The OIC leaders called for a negotiated end to Syria’s prolonged civil war. The final communiqué of the meeting urged summit participants to “call on the Syrian authorities and opposition to settle the conflict though negotiations.”
The OIC secretary general also called attention to the Palestinian issue. He called for the adoption of a new strategy to support Palestinian claims.
Ihsanoglu warned against the growing phenomenon of extremism and violence in wide regions of the Muslim world. Stressing the importance of solidarity at this critical time for the Muslim community, he called on member states to work together to eradicate extremism and reminded them of their commitment to moderation under the OIC charter andaction plan.
The summit also addressed the problem of Islamophobia and ways to overcome it globally. Participants examined greater OIC participation in intercultural and interreligious dialogue by expanding cooperation with the UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative.
The secretary general said the OIC had become a major force in world affairs. He said that with greater support from member states, it could assume an even more important role and add to its already impressive achievements.
On the eve of the summit it was announced that Almaty would host international talks on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Kazakhstan remains a leading and active participant in the OIC. It successfully chaired the organisation from June 2011 to November 2012 during a crucial period for the Arab world and launched several important initiatives.
After its chairmanship, Kazakhstan defined three key priorities for the OIC. They were: to strengthen the body and make it a more effective player on the international scene, to promote regional stability and to support gradual political modernisation in OIC member states.
Kazakhstan continues to support the OIC Action Plan for Central Asia, the strengthening of international trade and economic cooperation and it calls on all nuclear powers to adopt the OIC resolution to recognize the Semipalatinsk Treaty on Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia.
Kazakhstan also supports increased cooperation between the OIC and the G20, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.