Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The Fourth Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Mediation “Experiences and Prospects”, being hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 5-6 in cooperation with the OIC General Secretariat, kicked off Sunday morning.
In his opening speech, Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji said that the Fourth OIC Mediation Conference comes at a time full of events that are ravaging the entire world and affecting international peace and stability, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that stability, peace and security are the nucleus of progress, development and prosperity for peoples.
Al-Khuraiji outlined that this conference comes as “a continuation of the previous conferences held in the Republic of Turkey, in an attempt to establish rules and an approach for the hoped-for role in the field of mediation under the umbrella of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.”
The Deputy Foreign Minister pointed out that “The complex and urgent issues within the countries of the Islamic world and other countries of the world are in dire need, in light of the delicate circumstances the world is going through today, for an effective solution and more efficient means. This is by adopting several methods and ways, among which is the need to combine the efforts of the OIC with regional and international partners to find the best solutions in this regard, in order to address all these challenges and risks by utilizing preventive-diplomacy approach aimed at preventing the emergence of conflicts between different parties and addressing their escalation and stopping their spread, through dialogue and negotiations and making good offices to reconcile between those conflicting parties.”
“Saudi Arabia has been based, since its establishment, as a pivotal country, on basic pillars, the most important of which is contributing to the achievement of international peace and security, and striving to resolve disputes by peaceful means,” Al-Khuraiji stressed, adding that the “Kingdom has also contributed and continued to exert its good endeavours in many countries in order to stave off the differences that afflicted some countries through all avenues and various means, including activating the role of humanitarian diplomacy.”
He indicated that the Kingdom, upon the generous directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and with the tireless follow-up of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, paid attention to providing support and assistance, whether through King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) or through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), making the Kingdom one of the top donor countries.
At the beginning of his speech, OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting the Fourth Mediation Conference, and praised all the efforts made by the Kingdom as the OIC host country and the Chair of the 14th Session of the Islamic Summit.
Taha affirmed that the issue of mediation is of great importance to the OIC, as the Fourth Session of the Mediation Conference is being held at a critical juncture, and at a time when the world is in dire need of mediation, dialogue and negotiations in order to resolve conflicts.
The Secretary-General explained that the OIC Charter requires Member States to adopt peaceful means for settlement of disputes, through good offices, negotiation, investigation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement or any other peaceful means.
Taha stressed that the OIC attaches special attention to mediation, as about 60 percent of all world’s conflicts occur in the geographical area of the OIC, noting that due to these conflicts, peoples have been exposed to many bitter experiences and the comprehensive development in these countries has declined. Therefore, he added, the OIC Member States have a strong commitment to find peaceful and lasting solutions to outstanding disputes.
Also in his speech, the Secretary-General reviewed the many successes achieved by the OIC in the field of mediation in various conflicts, most notably mediating conflicts in the southern Philippines, southern Thailand, Sudan, Chad and Afghanistan. The OIC has played a role in supporting international efforts aimed at establishing peace and security and restoring the rule of law in Somalia and Guinea, in addition to its attempt to end sectarian tension in Iraq in 2006.
In turn, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey to the OIC, Ambassador Mehmet Metin Eker, commended Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for organizing this timely conference.
Ambassador Eker said conflict prevention, resolution and mediation have become even more important given recent geopolitical developments and the increasing number of conflicts. He added that while the frequency of conflicts is increasing, their nature is also developing rapidly, stressing that for this reason the OIC and its Member States should focus more on the peaceful resolution of disputes.
He pointed out that Turkey focused on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation by hosting the first three sessions of the Mediation Conference, because it believes in the potentials of the OIC as the second-largest international organization and the collective voice of the Muslim world. He stated that this conference will certainly be an important platform to follow up on the important work that has been accomplished so far.
On her part, Ms. Kumba Jow, Principal State Counsel at The Gambia Ministry of Justice, said during her speech on behalf of the OIC African Group: “The Mediation Conference is an innovative platform to share our diverse experiences to consolidate peace and security for the Islamic world.”
She emphasized that mediation is a powerful mechanism that must be encouraged and used to prevent the escalation of tensions that could lead to serious conflicts, stressing the need to strengthen the capabilities of preventive diplomacy to prevent the high costs of conflict on life and property and delay our development aspirations.
In his speech on behalf of the Asian Group, the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the OIC, Ambassador Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, said that the mediation conference is being held at a time when the Islamic world is facing a number of conflicts, whether they are internal conflicts, or conflicts related to the occupation, as is the case in Palestine, or conflicts related to the problems faced by Muslim minorities.
He indicated that this conference comes within the framework of activating the roles of the OIC in mediation and conflict resolution, stressing the need for the Organization to play a role in this field, and to have its own structures to deal with and resolve conflicts.
In his speech on behalf of the OIC Arab Group, Ambassador of Djibouti to Saudi Arabia Dya Eddine Said Bamakhrama, who is also Djibouti’s Permanent Representative to the OIC, affirmed that the conference is being held under delicate circumstances in which conflicts and disputes continue, and great challenges to international peace are manifested.
He pointed out that the conference will be an embodiment of consensus on broad and clear lines to enhance the OIC’s mediation capacity, saying that the event will discuss in this regard innovative means to define new roles for the Organization to participate in mediation efforts.
It is noteworthy that the opening session also witnessed the screening of a video about the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in mediation.
It is noteworthy that the opening session also featured a film screening about the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in mediation.