Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

18-19 October 2016. Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan 

Dear Mr. Chairman
Mr. Secretary General
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Esselamu aleykum ve rahmetullahi ve berekatuhu.

I would like to start by expressing heartfelt gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the excellent organization of our session and warm hospitality extended to our delegation. We also highly commend the superb work done by the State of Kuwait in its capacity as the chairman of the CFM. Taking this opportunity, I also want to express the sincere condolences and deep regret to the people of Uzbekistan over the death of President Islam Karimov.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Armed conflicts, terror acts, refugee and migrant crisis, devastating humanitarian situation in certain countries, pervasive misconceptions about religion and many more other impediments for peace and security continue to exist in our vulnerable and fragile world. To the deepest regret, at the moment a number of OIC Member States are face to face with the above-mentioned challenges.

Today’s session gives us great opportunity to address one of the main root causes for the existence of these challenges - which is the lack of education and rise of ignorance that are rapidly gaining pace in our modern world. The slogan of our session “Education and Enlightenment – Path to Peace and Creativity” is as though intended to remind us that the key to success in combating the problems confronting our world is laid in education. Education is the primary engine as well as the guarantee for the sustainable development of an individual, a family, a community, a country and of our world. Education and enlightenment are the main forces that can strengthen solidarity among Muslims, eradicate the trend of Islamophobia, counter extremism, promote culture of tolerance and lead to conditions conducive to the peaceful co-existence of the people representing different cultures, religions and nationalities. It is education that brings prosperity and welfare of the humanity. And I fully agree with the statement of distinguished Foreign Minister of Indonesia on importance of education for women and girls. 

I am proud to state that as a country which believes that peace and security is achievable through education, science, culture and dialogue, Azerbaijan has transformed into the hub of events fostering dialogue of cultures and civilizations such as 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue. Last month we hosted V Baku International Humanitarian Forum which included panels on a wide range of global issues in the interest of all humanity with the participation of renowned guests, among which were Nobel Prize Laureates. Besides this, as a country which has always been at the forefront endeavoring to foster Islamic solidarity Azerbaijan is honored to host the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku next year.

It is a common knowledge that Islam has made tremendous contributions to the world's civilization. Starting from the early stages of our history Muslim scholars have made immense achievements in different areas such as astronomy, physics, mathematics, medicine, architecture and many more. To the deepest regret, by ignoring innovations and positive influences brought by Islam, international community remains incapable in properly and effectively addressing Islamophobia. We should spare no effort to prevent the increase in frequency and notoriety of this unacceptable trend. In this regard, we praise the work done by OIC to combat the phenomenon of Islamophobia and call for further consolidation of our efforts within the OIC to prevent this danger.

We all acknowledge that one of the primary reasons and factors contributing to the emergence of Islamophobia is undoubtedly violent extremism and terrorism. The need to strengthen international cooperation geared towards eradicating this menace remains strong. It is imperative to take all necessary measures to effectively confront the threats and challenges posed by terrorism, as well as to address its root causes, which include but are not limited to prolonged armed conflicts, illiteracy and social exclusion. Only our joint and concerted efforts coupled with our solidarity can suppress and prevent these inhuman acts which continue to claim the lives of innocent people. Azerbaijan strongly and unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

I would like to reiterate Azerbaijan’s full support to the brotherly people of Palestine in their struggle for achieving peace, stability and establishment of an independent State. Azerbaijan stands for the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is the only guarantee of achieving the long-awaited, comprehensive, lasting and just peace, security and sustainable development in this sacred land. We highly commend the work done by the OIC in supporting the Palestinian people and serving the Palestinian cause.


Last, but not least,

As you are all well aware, Armenia continues to hold its destructive position in the negotiation process of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict by totally disregarding the position of the international community and flagrantly violating the international law. Azerbaijan reiterates its sincere gratitude to OIC Secretary General and OIC Member States for their constant principled position in condemnation of the Armenian aggression and occupation of Azerbaijani territories with notorious ethnic cleansing on the seized lands. We highly appreciate the establishment of the OIC Contact Group on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan. We believe that the work of this Contact Group will contribute to the implementation of the relevant OIC and UN resolutions and help to harmonize the individual and joint efforts to this end.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, I would like to wish successful deliberations to this important event and express our high appreciation to OIC Secretary General Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani and his highly dedicated team for the professionalism in the realization of the goals and principles of our Organization.

Thank you. 

Esselamu aleykum ve rahmetullahi ve berekatuhu.

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