39th Session of OIC Foreign Ministers Council issues Djibouti Declaration

November 17, 2012

The 39th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states was concluded in Djibouti today following two days of deliberations. Vice Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz led the Saudi delegation to the gathering, which was held under the theme “Solidarity for Sustainable Development.”

In his address, Prince Abdulaziz highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to promote Islamic solidarity and interreligious dialogue. He pointed to the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to establish a center for dialogue between Islamic sects, adding that the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue will be opened in Vienna on November 26.

The Vice Foreign Minister also discussed the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict, characterizing them as “the fulcrum of struggle in the Middle East.” He declared, “The international community should shoulder its political and ethical responsibilities to press Israel to give back rights to their legal owners, to stop all arbitrary and inhumane acts against the Palestinian people and to fulfill aspirations of the Palestinian people in establishing their state with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.”

Prince Abdulaziz noted that Saudi Arabia has made efforts to assist Muslims around the world, including those in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria. The Kingdom has helped find political solutions for crises, he continued, while also providing financial and humanitarian assistance to those in need.

Finally, Prince Abdulaziz announced the Kingdom’s nomination of Iyad bin Amin Madani to the post of OIC Secretary General for the next term. If successful, Madani will be the first Saudi to hold that position.

At the conclusion of the session, the OIC Foreign Ministers released the Djibouti Declaration, in which they reiterated their backing of the Palestinians’ U.N. bid. “We renew our full support for the just cause of Palestine and the rights of Palestinian people to mobilize international support for their inalienable legitimate rights, including the right to self-determination and return,” the statement said. “We affirm our full support to the Palestinian move to seek observer status for the State of Palestine at the U.N. and call upon friendly countries to support that. We also condemn the continued inhuman and illegitimate blockade of the Gaza Strip and demand Israel, as the occupying power, to immediately end this illegal collective punishment of the Palestinian people, to lift the blockade fully.”

The ministers condemned the propagation of religious hatred and reaffirmed “the principles contained in the inter-faith and intercultural dialogue initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, which was adopted by the World Conference on Dialogue of 2008 in Madrid against defamation of religions and their symbols.” They welcomed King Abdullah’s initiative to encourage dialogue between Muslims, saying, “We consider this a practical way of reconciling juristic opinions among Muslims for the sake of safeguarding the unity of the Islamic Ummah.”

Addressing a series of other issues, the Djibouti Declaration welcomed the agreement reached by the various segments of the Syrian opposition on November 11 in Doha; condemned the repression of Rohingya Muslims; supported the resolution adopted on the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea; and expressed solidarity with Mali in its struggle against armed groups.

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