1 March 2019, Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Distinguished Secretary General,
Excellences, Distinguished Delegates of the Session
I would like to start by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Chairman, and the OIC Secretary General for the excellent organization of our session and my sincere congratulations to all on the occasion of 50th Gold Jubilee of the OİC. I’m pleased to also thank the Government of UAE for the warm hospitality extended to our delegation and thank the Government of Bangladesh for the skillful stewardship of the Council as the chair of the 45th CFM.
Over five decades since its establishment, the OIC as the unique multilateral body of the Muslim world, has become a strategic dialogue partner to the international community in the maintenance of global peace and security. Yet today our organization is facing the unprecedented challenges both internal and external - which constitute existential threats to the Members’ unity, integrity and sovereignty.
The continuous armed conflicts and terrorist attacks in our geography notably in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, as well as rising trend of intolerance, racism and xenophobia in various parts of the world demonstrate the deficiency of current international mechanisms aimed to guaranty international peace and security. Therefore our joint actions aimed at peaceful and brotherly resolutions of conflicts within our geography and firm stand in fighting terrorism, preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all Members, countering Islamophobia are of utmost priority. In this regard Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the reform process in the OIC aimed at increasing the overall efficiency of the Organization, in particular strengthening its mediation capacity to address the conflicts.
The Republic of Azerbaijan being adherent to the collective approach and joint strategy of the Organization will continue to work with the Member States towards peaceful resolution of the conflicts, including through various OIC Contact Groups to which Azerbaijan is a member, notably on Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir, Somali and Muslim minorities in Europe. In this regard we call upon all Member States to spare no efforts in implementing the principles of collective approach and Islamic solidarity.
The Palestinian issue being at the heart of the OIC raison d’etre is the one which requires such collective approach. Azerbaijan reaffirms full solidarity and persistent support for the just and lasting solution to the issue and stands for the two-state solution of the Palestinian conflict with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.
Being committed to this objective Azerbaijan congratulate Palestinian government for official assumption of the “Group of G77 and China” presidency, which would consolidate the political and legal status of Palestine in the international arena, and its well-deserved right to acquire full UN membership. Last year Azerbaijan hosted NAM Ministerial Committee on Palestine within 18th Mid-term Ministerial Meeting of the Non Alignment Movement (NAM). The Final Baku Declaration reiterated urgent call for serious, collective efforts to bring a complete end to the violence in Palestine. In November of 2018, Azerbaijan hosted the Annual Meeting of Ambassadors of the State of Palestine accredited in Asia thus contributing to capacity building of Palestinian government. On humanitarian part of support for Palestinian people Azerbaijan allocated last October 200 000 dollars to UNRWA .
Let me assure this Organization that during our chairmanship in the NAM in the period of 2019-2022 Azerbaijan will spare no efforts to further contribute to the peace in Palestine as well as towards peace, security and development of the Islamic countries at large.
While doing its utmost to contribute to international peace and security Azerbaijan is still facing continuous military aggression by Armenia, which resulted in occupation of 20 percent of internationally recognized territory of my country, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions; in ethnic cleansing of almost 1 million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs; in destruction and desecration of numerous historical, cultural and religious monuments in the territories of Azerbaijan still occupied by Armenia.
The mediation efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe unfortunately have still not yielded results which should be liberation of the occupied lands and restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. This definitive result for negotiations is vested in the UN SC relevant resolutions as well as resolutions of the OIC, relevant documents of OSCE, European Union and almost any international organization ever dealt with the conflict.
Despite all of these calls, despite all our efforts to resolve the conflict by peaceful means Armenia continues its policy of predatory looting of the natural resources and destroying historic and Islamic legacy of the occupied territories aimed at solidifying the results of its aggression; violating the ceasefire, killing and wounding Azerbaijani servicemen and civilians almost on a daily basis. I appreciate just position of the OIC member-states with regard to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, reflected in the OIC Ministerial resolutions. I also call for reflection of the position of justice and solidarity expressed within this august body while dealing with the aggressor state on bilateral basis as well as at international fora. The attempts by Armenia to abuse international cultural, language-based or humanitarian fora with a view of promoting its policy of occupation and of breaching solidarity of this very organization should be met with our unified stance. Armenian attempts to engage some of the Member States into economic and cultural cooperation, organize touristic promotion of occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan or of so called preserved Islamic heritage in its own territory while destroying this very heritage is nothing else but cynical policy of legalizing the occupation and strengthening the occupier from which we strongly call upon the Member States to refrain from.
While commending the annual meetings of the OIC Contact Group on the Aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan held since 2016 in New-York and expressing in this regard our appreciation to its members and the OIC Secretary General we call upon all Members to practically support the activities of the group to operationalize the OIC decisions and resolutions on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and facilitate appropriate actions to compel Armenia to comply with the relevant OIC documents.
Azerbaijan commends the work of the OIC institutions aimed at strengthening our solidarity and raising our collective voice in international arena. In this regard I would like to highlight ISESCO statement condemning construction by Armenia of a new canal from the Sarsang Reservoir in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories being in flagrant violation of the international law and aimed at creating environmental disaster for the adjacent regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
We appreciate the members solidarity demonstrated within the “Justice for Khojaly” international campaign carried out by the Islamic Conference Youth Forum and within implementation of the resolution on “The solidarity with the victims of the Khojaly massacre” aimed at raising global awareness on genocide of civilian Azerbaijanis by the Armenian forces in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly in February 1992.
I would like also to underline importance of our solidarity in times of hardships and natural disasters such as OIC humanitarian support in the aftermath of Indonesian 2018 earthquake to which Azerbaijan was privileged to contribute.
Our solidarity need to be demonstrated also in strengthening the much needed global inter-cultural dialogue and countering dangers of xenophobia, racism, hate speech and Islamophobia. In this regard I call upon Member states to actively participate in the 5th edition of the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue to be held in May 2019 in Baku, which constitutes a central part of the “Baku Process” initiated by the President of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev in 2008. The process supported by influential international partners such as OIC, UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, World Tourism Organization, Council of Europe and ISESCO is aimed at strengthening inter-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding as foundation for sustainable peace and inclusive development.
In 2018, Nakhchivan, an ancient Azerbaijan city, named capital of Islamic culture hosted various cultural programs further contributing to enriching our cultural ties. We are looking forward to host the first ever OIC Cultural Week this year in Azerbaijan and the Eighth International Contest of young performers of classical music from our countries which will support the young talents and creativity.
Azerbaijan supports the activities of the ICYF and its Eurasian Regional Centre hosted by the Government of Azerbaijan in Baku and during our tenure of chairmanship in the Ministerial Council on Youth and Sports we will continue practical contribution to youth and sports development. The 2nd Executive Model OIC games, Islamic countries young entrepreneurs’ network to be hosted within this tenure by Azerbaijan among various youth oriented programs are aimed at strengthening friendship between Islamic countries through youth and sports activities.
We also invite members to finalize the ratification process of the OIC specialized organ namely, The OIC Labour Center, initiated by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E Mr. Ilham Aliyev with the aim to support the productive force and economic growth of our countries, an important goal of the “OIC-2025 Programme of Action”.
I would like to conclude by reiterating my sincere congratulations to the OIC Members on the occasion of the 50th Jubilee once again and wish the next 50 years to be marked with our greater strength and solidarity to fruit with sustainable peace, stability and development for our Ummah.