Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The Fourth Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Mediation “Experiences and Prospects”, organized on 5-6 June by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the OIC General Secretariat, concluded on Monday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
During the conference sessions, the speakers stressed that mediation and good offices represent the best means of settling disputes. They emphasized the need for political will and impartiality, with respect for the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their internal affairs.
The speakers pointed out that Islamic values represent foundational factors in settlement of disputes. They also stressed the importance of taking into account the cultural sensitivities of the parties to mediation, and drawing inspiration from the religious and cultural heritage and the good customs and traditions of the societies affected by these conflicts.
Speakers in the working sessions urged activating the role of women and young people in mediation efforts as well as ensuring the direct participation of groups affected by the conflict, and that the negotiating parties have the leadership of the negotiations during the mediation.
They also called for harnessing information technology and modern technology in mediation processes, identifying the economic, social and political causes of conflict, and for the mediation process to be concurrent with the peace-building process.
The speakers stressed the need for mediation to be multi-dimensional and not focus only on the path of direct dialogue between the two parties to the conflict, but rather extend to include technical and logistical support and training. Further, they underscored the importance of partnerships between regional and international organizations, given their capabilities and strengths in mediation.
The speakers maintained the importance of mediation alerting the parties to the conflict of the consequences of not reaching a peaceful solution, noting in this regard that the means of pressure and sanctions can contribute to the success of the negotiations. They explained that mediation does not have decision-making power, but rather helps the parties to the conflict to take their decisions.
They urged the mediators to embrace the approach of simplicity and quickness in facilitating between the parties to the conflict, and to use appropriate language that takes into account the positions and viewpoints of the parties, and for mediation to be characterized by readiness, flexibility and consistency.
Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the OIC Dr. Saleh bin Hamad Al-Suhaibani conveyed, in the report at the conclusion of the conference sessions, the thanks and appreciation of the participating delegations to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. Also in the report, the delegations praised the capabilities provided by the Saudi Foreign Ministry and the OIC, in order to make this important conference a success, which comes in sensitive circumstances ravaging the world. They further hailed the diversity and richness of the sessions, discussions and constructive ideas that came out of this conference, especially at the present time.
The Permanent Representative also extended his heartfelt thanks to all the delegations, organizations and centers, as well as the experienced and knowledgeable personalities that took part in this conference and attended its activities. He also expressed his gratitude to the OIC General Secretariat for its fruitful cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to make the conference a success.
Al-Suhaibani outlined that delegations from nearly 50 countries participated in the conference, in addition to representatives from 10 OIC affiliated organizations, six regional and international organizations, and 13 OIC observer states. He added that all the Envoys of the OIC Secretary-General for Africa, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir as well as representatives of several specialized research centers and interested universities in Saudi Arabia and beyond took part in the event.
Al-Suhaibani said that Saudi Arabia – in continuation of its supportive approach to the decisions of the OIC since its inception – and as the Chair of the current Islamic Summit, has implemented two important resolutions of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) during this week, with this conference, which is being concluded on Monday, comes in implementation of Ministerial Council Resolution No. 53/48-S regarding mediation.
“As well as the implementation of the resolution to request support for the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan, which was established during the meeting of the 48th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” added the Saudi Permanent Representative.
Furthermore, Al-Suhaibani enumerated the objectives of this conference, most notably the exchange of effective regional and global experiences in the field of mediation, conflict prevention and settlement, and activating the role of preventive diplomacy in this field, in addition to discussing the challenges and difficulties facing mediation efforts.
He went to say that the conference also sought to strengthen the role of the OIC in the field of regional and global peace and security, and to create a new mechanism for mediation through the Organization’s capabilities to resolve conflicts, especially in light of statistics indicating that more than 60 percent of conflicts occur in the geographical area of the OIC.
Al-Suhaibani considered that this is undoubtedly a milestone in the history of the OIC General Secretariat and the vital initiatives of the Kingdom in support of the implementation of the Ministerial Council’s resolutions, as it is always among the top and pioneering nations in this regard.
The Saudi diplomat stressed that the directives of the Kingdom’s leadership focus on activating the tools of joint Islamic action in a way that serves the Charter of the OIC and its objectives. He pointed out that while the Kingdom is moving towards implementing these resolutions and joining forces effort, it is undoubtedly looking forward to the concerted efforts and the movement undertaken by other Member States in this regard.
In turn, OIC Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ambassador Yousif Mohammed Al-Dhubaeyi said that the General Secretariat welcomes any new proposal regarding the Mediation Conference and the development of work tools in mediation.
Al-Dhubaeyi reviewed the most important ideas and discussions of the conference, referring in this regard to the completion of the Network of Mediators from the OIC Member States, as well as the use of the network of mediators to send fact-finding missions, the development of early warning mechanisms at the national and regional levels, and support for the establishment of centers specializing in mediation study and capacity building.
He noted that the conference also concluded with the generalization of mediation in the OIC’s structure, guided by the comprehensive reform efforts of the Organization, called for by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz during his presidency of the 14th Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah.
The conference also came up with a call to continue discussion on activating the Islamic Court of Justice – especially in light of the complex security conditions and challenges – activating the Contact Group on Peace and Conflict Resolution, in addition to starting preparations for the Fifth Mediation Conference, and expanding the circle of humanitarian partnerships.