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Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’ message, as delivered by Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, to the United Nations-Organization of Islamic Cooperation Meeting, in Geneva today:
I am pleased to send greetings to the General Cooperation Meeting between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This meeting is testament to the commitment of both our organizations to combine our efforts to tackle global challenges.
One of my highest priorities is preventing violent extremism, which undermines peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. I welcome the Communiqué of the OIC’s Thirteenth Islamic Summit and its support for the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and my Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
The United Nations system and OIC must together continue promoting a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding. Peacebuilding is not simply applicable to the aftermath of conflict; it is an important preventive strategy. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the need to address the drivers and root causes of conflict and violent extremism, including gross human rights violations, unaccountable institutions and poor governance.
I welcome the OIC’s continued support for establishing lasting peace and security for Palestine and Israel based on the two-State solution. This has never been more urgent. The Extraordinary OIC Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds al-Sharif in Jakarta last March was an important initiative.
In Syria, I call on parties to the conflict to recommit immediately to the cessation of hostilities and to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians. I also call on regional and international actors to intensify their support for a durable end to the conflict.
In Iraq, we need to foster democracy and the rule of law. I hope the current political paralysis can be resolved through reforms based on the country’s Constitution. I welcome OIC Secretary-General [Iyad Ameen] Madani’s recent call on all political factions in Iraq to exercise restraint, shun violence and resolve differences by peaceful means.
In Yemen, the United Nations is working with all parties involved to uphold the cessation of hostilities and find a lasting solution to the conflict. I count on the increased support of the international community and organizations such as the OIC.
In Libya, the United Nations remains committed to a political solution as the only way to restore stability. This process has brought together key political leaders from across Libya, resulting in the Presidency Council which is responsible for forming a Government of National Accord. It is important that this process retains our attention and support.
In Afghanistan, I welcome the OIC’s backing for a peace process that can underpin the long-term growth and stability of the country. I also commend the OIC for its efforts in Somalia, in particular its contribution to the humanitarian sector. I count on its continued support to Somalia in addressing its many challenges.
The OIC also plays an important role in supporting the implementation of the peace agreement in Mali. OIC member States, along with the Islamic Development Bank, can significantly contribute to the long-term social and economic development of the country.
As the Central African Republic turns an important corner with the peaceful election of President [Faustin-Archange] Touadéra, I count on the OIC’s renewed engagement in the Central African Republic going forward.
In Myanmar, the recent elections represent a major milestone in the country’s transition to democracy. It is now vital that the authorities take meaningful and urgent steps to tackle the root causes of institutionalized discrimination and disenfranchisement affecting the Muslim communities across the country.
In closing, I recognize the historic step the OIC has recently taken in appointing four women to leadership positions. This is a reflection of the important role of women in decision-making and is a trend that we hope to see across OIC countries.
I am also pleased to see the growing focus by the OIC on youth development in its member States through the activities of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum on Dialogue and Cooperation. I was happy to learn that the Thirteenth Islamic Summit was preceded by a Pre-Summit Youth Event.
I wish you a successful meeting, and I urge you to take the opportunity to deepen our collaboration for peace, human rights, dignity and opportunity for all.