Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the Annual Coordination Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the OIC Member States

Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the Annual Coordination Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the OIC Member States

New York, September 28, 2012

Mr. Chairman, 

At the outset, I would like to thank you and the Secretary General Mr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for organizing the Annual Coordination Meeting. I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Erlan Idrisov on his recent appointment as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and wish him every success in chairing the OIC. 

As an organisation based on shared Islamic values of peace, compassion, tolerance and human dignity and unique concept of fraternity of Islamic Ummah, the OIC is best placed to serve as venue for dialogue and cooperation in the Islamic world on a wide range of issues from security to economic and development cooperation. To fully unlock this potential, we need increased solidarity among OIC Member States especially on issues relating to their sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity. Only when we strictly adhere to our principles and uphold the centrality of political unanimity, we can succeed in institutionalising the OIC as a venue where crucial decisions are made and implemented for the enduring peace, security and prosperity of the Islamic world. 

Being committed to the letter and spirit of the OIC Charter, Azerbaijan fully supports the activity of the organization. I am pleased to announce that the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has just recently decided to make a voluntary contribution to the budget of the OIC. 

Mr. Chairman, 

The Islamic world has been experiencing important developments since our last Annual Coordination Meeting here in New York. Last year, Azerbaijan was elected as the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. I would like to express our sincere gratitude and profound appreciation to the Governments of OIC Member States for their valuable support to our candidacy and strong solidarity with Azerbaijan during 17 rounds of elections.

Over the past nine months of our membership in the Council, we have been supporting endeavors towards improving effectiveness of the UN system and achieving full respect for the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We continue to extend our full support to legitimate aspirations of OIC Member States to be represented in the UN Security Council in an appropriate manner. We also consider important of establishing mutually reinforcing cooperation between the United Nations Security Council and the OIC for maintaining international peace and security. 

We all witness how peoples of several Member States in the Middle East are steadfastly striving towards consolidating the results of popular movements. Herewith, I would like to pay tribute to the peoples and Governments of Egypt, Libya and Tunis who are making good progress in democratic transition of their countries. Their achievements have once more reconfirmed that democracy is not only compatible with Islam-it is in fact in the true essence of our religion. 

To our deepest regret, however, we also register persistence and even deterioration of several security problems in the OIC area. 

Armenia continues to use force to sustain military occupation of a substantial part of territories of Azerbaijan and to prevent one million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs from returning to their homes. No single Azerbaijani historic and cultural monument was left undamaged and no mosque and other sacred site escaped desecration both in the occupied territories and in Armenia.

The situation is further complicated by Armenia’s irresponsible and unacceptable behavior in the overly sensitive domain of justice and reconciliation. Perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including acts of genocide against Azerbaijani people, not only remain unpunished, they are even promoted, venerated and officially awarded hero titles in Armenia.

All of these are aimed at making the situation irreversible, the peace process meaningless and reconciliation between two peoples impossible. Armenia must finally realize that the irresponsible and provocative policy of territorial claims, animosity and hatred towards neighbouring countries and nations, based on historical, cultural, racial and religious prejudices, has no chance to succeed. The earlier it grasps this, the sooner our countries will be able to reach mutual understanding, and enjoy peace, stability and cooperation.

Consideration of this issue at the OIC is yet another test for the resolve and consistency of Member States in defending the principles and values of our organization. I would like to thank the member States for their continued support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan and their condemnation of the notorious aggression of Armenia. 

Mr. Chairman,

We need to remain consistent in defending the just cause of our member States and the Muslim communities and minorities around the world. We are concerned over the situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Azerbaijan reiterates its support to brotherly people of Palestine and their efforts to achieve peace, stability, and establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Al-Quds as its capital. We would like to reiterate our support for the application of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations.

Azerbaijan is deeply concerned over the escalating violence in Syria that claims so many innocent lives and endangers regional security. We pay utmost importance to maintaining peace and security in Syria, which is one of the cradles of the Islamic civilization. We should not remain indifferent to the humanitarian crisis that made hundreds of thousands of Syrians flee their homes. We commend the efforts of neighboring countries who take heavy burden of sheltering mass number of Syrian refugees. 

We would like to believe that all stake-holders inside Syria are aware of the vitality of keeping the nation united. In this regard, I would like to stress Azerbaijan’s firm support for sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Syria. 

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, we were making our efforts to help Syria and the international community to enable a peaceful development of events. I want to renew our call upon all parties to the Syrian crisis to immediately halt violence and to embark on a Syrian-led inclusive political process so as to find a solution to the problems of the nation in a peaceful manner. 

Mr. Chairman,

We cannot but once again express our deep concern over the recent escalation provoked by blasphemy against Islam. We strongly condemn all attacks against our religion and decisively reject any attempt to justify those heinous acts under the pretext of freedom expression. At the same time, attacks on civilians, in particular diplomatic personnel, are unjustifiable under any circumstances. 

These cases reveal serious shortcomings by several countries in combating Islamophobia and promoting tolerance on one hand. On the other hand, it testifies to the need for stronger efforts from each of us and our organisation towards more effective communicating the true essence of Islam. We believe that this issue should be brought to the attention of the UNSC and a joint session with the OIC could be held on that topic. 

In conclusion, I would like re-emphasise the importance of the political unanimity and stronger practical cooperation among the Member States and wish tremendous successes to all of us on this path.

Thank you.

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