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Statement By Mr. Ershad Ahmadi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the 40th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (Dialogue of Civilization, Factor for Peace and Sustainable Development)

Conakry, Republic of Guinea
9-11 December 2013
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Royal highnesses,
Honorable Chairman Lounceny Fall,
Senior Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Guinea
His Excellency Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
Honorable Ministers, Excellencies
Ladies & Gentlemen,

May I convey our deep appreciation to the government and people of Guinea for hosting the 40th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers and for their warm hospitality.
I also wish to thank His Excellency Prof. Ihsanoglu for his leadership in introducing reforms and initiatives to make OIC more effective and responsive to the needs of the Ummah.
Availing this opportunity, may I congratulate His Excellency Iyad Madani as the new Secretary General of OIC. We are confident that under his leadership, the role of OIC will further expand in shaping global issues and in resolving the pressing challenges faced by the Muslim World. I assure you of our full cooperation as you assume this important responsibility.
Our meeting takes place at a time when we mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, a great son of Africa and a global beacon of courage and justice and a true champion of peace, dialogue and reconciliation. As we gather here to discuss the situation of the Muslim world and to promote dialogue of civilizations for peace and development, let us reaffirm that the noble ideals of peace, justice, co-existence, and reconciliation, as enshrined in our own religion, will guide our future course of action.

Today many parts of the Islamic World are afflicted with immense hardships and challenges. Instability, violence, and terrorism, fed by poverty and ignorance, are threatening Muslims across the world. It is through joint action and decisive cooperation among all Muslim countries that we can tackle these threats. The OIC and other relevant institutions can serve as effective means of interaction and cooperation among Muslim countries in addressing our political, social and economic challenges.

Mr. Chairman,
Today, globalization is bringing peoples and cultures closer to each other than ever before. Thanks to advances in technology, news and ideas today travel instantly to all corners of the world. This shrinking of the world necessitates that we recognize and respect the differences in our cultures and ways of life. It also requires us to face our common challenges together. And we can do so by adhering to our common values and global principles, and promoting dialogue among cultures and civilizations to advance peace and mutual prosperity.
The OIC, as an organization representing our Ummah, must act in unity to counter Islamophobia. We must work together to project to the world the true face of Islam and to highlight its core values of peace, moderation and tolerance. We must realize that our collective well-being as the Ummah depends on our capacity to engage constructively with the rest of the world.

The overall situation in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim World continues to remain critical and demand our urgent attention. Afghanistan deeply shares the suffering of our Palestinian brothers and sisters and we will continue to support the realization of their inalienable rights, including their right to an Independent Palestinian State. In Syria, we will continue to support a peaceful and lasting solution that meets the aspiration of all Syrians. We share our deep concern about the dire humanitarian situation facing the Rohingya community in Myanmar and reiterate our full support for efforts to implement the recommendations of the 14 April 2013 OIC Contact Group Meeting in Jeddah.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the past twelve years, Afghanistan has gone through a remarkable transformation from a country that was lawless and controlled by foreign terrorists who threatened the world, to a country with an Islamic democratic polity, a rejuvenated economy and society, and a dependable partner with the international community.
Where twelve years ago Afghanistan was a closed country and economic backwater, today we are a meeting place of civilizations, and a land-bridge connecting Central and South Asia and the Middle East.

2014 marks a critically important year for Afghanistan. As we are assuming full responsibility for our security and development and further deepening our international partnerships, we are also keenly looking forward to a historic political transition through presidential and provincial council elections in April 2014. We are vigorously working to achieve results in our peace and reconciliation agenda and seeking to spearhead regional cooperation initiatives to enhance stability and prosperity for the wider region.

The people of Afghanistan are grateful for the support of the OIC and Member States towards our country’s stability and development. In particular, I wish to thank the OIC for partnering with Afghanistan in convening the Muslim Ulema Conference two months ago in Kabul with the purpose of advancing peace and security in Afghanistan. We are also looking forward to a much deeper and broader partnership with the OIC and Member States, and we hope that all the Islamic countries represented here today will continue to support our quest for peace and prosperity.

Thank you

Conakry, December 10, 2013


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