Security Council Advocates Greater Ties with Organization of Islamic Cooperation to Resolve Conflict in Middle East, Other Strife-Torn Regions

Report
from UN Security Council
Published on 28 Oct 2013 View Original

SC/11161

Security Council
7050th Meeting (AM)

The Security Council today recognized the importance of strengthened cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), acknowledging the United Nations’ continued dialogue with the 57-member body in the areas of peacemaking, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

In a presidential statement adopted by consensus, the Council commended OIC States for their ongoing contribution of troops to United Nations peacekeeping operations. It noted that the United Nations and OIC shared common objectives in promoting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a political solution to the Syrian conflict, in line with the 30 June 2012 Geneva Communiqué, as well as in fostering solutions to other conflicts.

Noting the commitment of the United Nations and OIC to foster a global dialogue on tolerance and peace, the Council called for enhanced cooperation towards a better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations. It also asked the Secretary-General to include in his next biannual report recommendations on ways to enhance such cooperation.

In opening remarks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon touched on various issues where the United Nations’ work with OIC continued to be critical. In Syria, the organizations cooperated on humanitarian and political issues amid heightened tensions between Sunni and Shia communities. OIC could be uniquely placed to launch a major initiative with the United Nations and others to end that upheaval. He urged OIC to do everything possible to rebuild confidence between Muslim communities, as well as to stem the influence of radical armed groups and violent extremists.

Equally, the status quo in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was not sustainable, he said, calling on OIC to help forge a way forward within the agreed time frame for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He welcomed OIC’s constructive engagement to reduce tensions in Myanmar, noting that in Afghanistan, efforts to enhance regional cooperation and build trust were critical. In Mali, following the milestone presidential election, OIC, United Nations and other partners should work together to promote dialogue and reconciliation.

Terrorism, while not associated with any particular cultures or people, had disproportionately affected OIC countries. He urged addressing the conditions conducive to its spread, adding that intercultural dialogue between and within faiths was more important than ever.

Following those remarks, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and OIC would both “promote multilateralism and boost the international collective security mechanism”. With its new vision of “moderation and modernization”, OIC was playing an important role in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts, promoting post-conflict reconstruction and defusing humanitarian crises. On numerous occasions, it had expressed its readiness to forge a partnership with the United Nations on early responses to disputes.

Detailing OIC’s credentials, he said it had established a centre for the development of women, an independent human rights commission and an international cooperation and humanitarian affairs department. It also had hosted at its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a number of international contacts groups, including those on Afghanistan and Somalia. In the Middle East, OIC was ready to partner with the United Nations to improve socioeconomic life in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

He described radicalization based on religious faith and belief as a “daunting” global challenge. OIC had been vigilant in exposing the dangerous extremist agenda and would continue to combat the radicalization that led to violent extremism.

In the debate that followed, delegates hailed OIC’s track record in promoting peace and security, citing its mediation and other efforts in Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and Myanmar, as well as its substantial connections in areas where the United Nations did not enjoy full access. Moreover, half of the top 10 troop- and police-contributing countries to United Nations peacekeeping operations were from OIC. Given its vast expanse, it was only natural that the world’s two largest intergovernmental bodies cooperate closely.

Yet OIC’s cooperation with the United Nations had not reached its full potential, many said, urging the bodies to focus more intently on issues, such combating terrorism, resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Syrian conflict, and fostering peace in both the Sahel and Horn of Africa. Some recommended adhering to the work matrix adopted in 2012, which listed fields of joint cooperation. Others said Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, on regional arrangements, should guide such work.

Cooperation was particularly important in the search for a lasting and fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, several stressed, as well as for a political solution to the crisis in Syria. Mbarka Bouaida, Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said that Palestine was the raison d’être behind OIC’s establishment. She urged both organizations to respect cultural and religious diversity. “Peace hinges on this,” she stressed.

In a similar vein, Azerbaijan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Elmar Maharram oglu Mammadyarov, said that misperceptions and prejudicial practices, as well as attempts to create a conceptual link between Islam and terror, were unacceptable. China’s delegate said cooperation could take several forms but must focus on results. It should build on relative advantages and, above all, be guided by the principles of sovereign equality and peaceful dispute settlement.

Zeroing in on internal matters, Togo’s representative pressed OIC to strengthen relations among its members, so as to end the internal rivalries that undermined its search for negotiated conflict settlements. It also should ensure that the provisions in its Ten-Year Programme of Action that promoted human rights, specifically for women, were implemented, which would reduce the factors that led to internal crises.

Also speaking today was the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.

Representatives of Rwanda, Luxembourg, Australia, Pakistan, Guatemala, United States, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, France and Russian Federation also spoke.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 12:20 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2013/16 reads as follows:

“The Security Council recalls the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirms its primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security.

“The Security Council reiterates that cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations and arrangements in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security, and consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, can improve collective security.

“The Security Council recalls its previous relevant resolutions and statements of its President which underscore the importance of developing effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant statutes of the regional and subregional organizations.

“The Security Council expresses its appreciation for the briefings of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

“The Security Council recognizes and further encourages the active contributionof the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the work of the United Nations towards the realization of the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council acknowledgesthe continuing dialogue between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the fields of peacemaking, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The Security Council commends the States Members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for their ongoing commitment to international peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including through the contribution of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

“The Security Council reiterates its commitment to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and to seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and recalls in this regard its previous relevant resolutions. The Council notes that the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation share common objectives in promoting and facilitating the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the political solution of the Syrian conflict in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, as well as in fostering solutions to other conflicts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

“The Security Council takes note of the general meeting on cooperation between the Secretariats of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and their specialized organizations, held in Geneva on 1-3 May 2012. The Council acknowledges the intention expressed by representatives of both organizations to reinforce cooperation in areas of common interest, such as conflict prevention and mediation, human rights, humanitarian assistance and refugees, intercultural dialogue, and the fight against terrorism.

“The Council notes the commitment of both the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of tolerance and peace, and calls for enhanced cooperation to promote better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations.

“The Security Council recognizes the importance of strengthening cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security.

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to include in his next biannual report to the Security Council and the General Assembly on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations, recommendations on ways to enhance cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.”