Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the Annual Coordination Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States
22 September 2016
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me at the outset, to express our heartfelt condolences to the People and the Government of Uzbekistan over the death of President Islam Karimov. I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the OIC Secretary General for organizing this meeting. I also use this opportunity to express our gratitude to the State of Kuwait for successful hosting of the 42nd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers and for the excellent leadership of the OIC Group in New York.
Today’s meeting is happening against the backdrop of increasing tensions and threats to international peace and security directly impacting a number of OIC Member States. Rise of violent extremism conducive to international terrorism, increasing fear and violating human rights, further complicates the task of bringing peace, security and justice to the Muslim Ummah.
Azerbaijan is deeply concerned over wars and armed conflicts in a number of the OIC Member States, which have contributed to greater security challenges, political instability in some regions, large-scale displacement and unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
We are pleased to see the growing international support for the State of Palestine. I would like to reaffirm Azerbaijan’s full support to the brotherly people of Palestine in their struggle for achieving peace, stability and sustainable development. Azerbaijan consistently stands for the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.
We hold regular consultations with Palestine at different levels. I am pleased to inform that a high-level delegation representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan paid an official visit to Ramallah in May 2016, and bilateral agreements were signed aimed at further intensification of practical cooperation.
Among the numerous challenges that our world faces today, the primary spot undoubtedly belongs to terrorism, which continues to undermine the global stability and prosperity. To the deepest regret, during the time elapsed since our last meeting we have been grieved by sorrowful news on terrorist attacks committed in different parts of the world, including in the territories of the OIC member states.
Azerbaijan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. All terrorist acts are unjustifiable regardless of their motivation, constitute serious crimes and must be condemned and prosecuted. The cases of shielding and glorification of terrorists should not be tolerated.
We should also spare no effort to prevent the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and stop the unacceptable increase in frequency and notoriety of Islamophobia. Respect and understanding for religious and cultural diversity throughout the world would significantly contribute to strengthening the international fight against terrorism. In this regard, we commend the work done by the OIC to counter instances of defamation and misconceptions pertaining to Islam and to fight the phenomenon of Islamophobia.
On its behalf, Azerbaijan has always tried to make its contribution to the promotion and fostering of multicultural and interfaith dialogue. We have hosted numerous events aimed at creating a better understanding among representatives of various religions, nationalities, civilizations. Creating a society with no discrimination based on cultural and religious differences is possible and Azerbaijan is a vivid example of this. My country is proud of having successfully hosted 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations under the theme “Living together in inclusive societies: a challenge and a goal” in April this year, which once again reaffirmed the commitment and dedication of Azerbaijan towards fostering constructive interaction between different cultures and religions, promoting broader mutual understanding and respect between civilizations on international level.
Azerbaijan’s commitment towards strengthening Islamic solidarity and promoting Islamic values is very well-known, as well. We will be honored to host the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku next year and hope that they will help to reinforce the bonds of unity, amity and fraternity between Muslims.
In conclusion, I would like to commend the consistent and principled position of the OIC regarding the illegal use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and occupation of its territories. We welcome the decision of the 13th Islamic Summit to establish a Contact group on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against Azerbaijan. I am pleased to announce that the first meeting of the Contact Group was successfully held three days ago on the sidelines of our Annual Coordination Meeting, here in New York. I want to thank the Member States engaged in the Contact Group, and reiterate our kind request to all Member States to support the work of the Contact Group aimed at ensuring justice and the respect for international law.
Assalami alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!