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UAE voices deep concern over tragic conditions in some Muslim countries

posted on 17/05/2007: 560 views

Islamabad - The UAE is watching with grave concern the tragic conditions and sufferings of Muslims in many parts of the world, UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Hussein Al Sha'ali said, citing Iraq, Palestine and Somalia as examples.

The Minister said proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and sectarian violence are new destabilizing elements adding to the sufferings of Muslims and the volatility of the Muslim world.

Addressing the inaugural session of the 34th meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference's 34th Foreign Ministers meeting on Tuesday, the UAE Minister reiterated the UAE call to Iran for a peaceful settlement of the three islands conflict either based on the principles of international law and the charter of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

Following is the full text of Al Sha'ali's speech: Every day people of the Islamic world become victims of a new wound, a new bleeding such as those of Iraq, Palestine and lately Somalia, in addition to hidden troubles in other parts of the world.

There are other new destabilizing elements such as weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, international terrorism and related consequences, sectarian violence. Added to these are other problems facing the Islamic World like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, diseases, and the way they sharply reflect on security and stability.

The situation demands not only speaking about these issues and analyzing them, but also thinking deeply how to find proper solutions to overcome them. On top of our priorities comes the wiping out of differences, whether among Islamic countries or conflicting intellectual trends. This can be achieved only through dialogue and other peaceful means.

UAE government has always sought a peaceful settlement of the dispute with the Islamic Republic of Iran over the latter's occupation in 1971 of the three islands Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, based on the principles of international law and the charter of the OIC.

We are still hoping that Iran would respond to our calls by either engaging in direct bilateral discussions or referring the issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). I assert that we will make all efforts in this direction to maintain our historical relations with Iran and to preserve Islamic solidarity.

We are deeply concerned about the developments in Iraq, especially on humanitarian levels. In this course, we urge Islamic countries to play a more proactive role in helping Iraq restoring security and peace, rebuilding the country, maintaining sovereignty, national unity and political independence. We also stress the importance of non-interference with Iraq's internal affairs so that it could regain its position on Islamic, regional and international fronts.

We hope that national reconciliation could be achieved as a political approach to consolidate the unity of Iraqis and to help Iraq live peacefully with its neighbours.

The latest Arab Summit held in Riyadh in March reassured the Arab Initiative as a practical and real solution to the Palestinian issue. The initiative keeps legitimate rights of Palestinian people in establishing their independent state, with Jerusalem as capital, return of refugees, Israel withdrawal from all occupied territories, including Syria's Golan Heights, and all other factors that may lead to a comprehensive, just and durable peace in the Middle East.

Over the past 60 years, the Palestinian people have, as you are definitely aware, suffered all kinds of displacement, discrimination and destitution. Today, they are in dire need of political, economic and humanitarian support. Peace is the most significant support one can render to the Palestinian people. As such we are hopeful that this conference will sustain the Arab peace initiative at various regional and international arenas.

It is imperative that the Middle East and Arabian Gulf region should be kept free of weapons of mass destruction and that Israel must be demanded to join and abide by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and show compliance with the respective UN resolutions by placing its nuclear installations under the surveillance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IATA).

The United Arab Emirates denounces terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. However, it rejects attempts to link terrorism to peoples' cultures, civilizations and faiths, particularly Islam, or discrimination against any of them. It further emphasizes the need for dialogue among various civilizations, cultures and creeds, which acts as bridges between nations. We are also in need of a clear-cut strategy that could make the Islamic discourse more inclined to moderation and distance it from extremism and radicalism.

The UAE believes in and pursues an open market policy in a globalize world of economic and international relations. It is a successful experience that will sustain economic, commercial and investment growth based on bilateral, regional and international partnership. Therefore, we call on the Islamic countries to expand their inter-communication and mutual cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, investment, exchange of expertise, IT and advanced technology.

In this respect, we call for creating mechanisms on bilateral and collective level to achieve sustainable development for the interest of countries and peoples and effective contribution to the world economic growth.

We also call the private sector to engage in the sustainable development drive. There is also a need for establishing a free trade zone between our countries to boost inter-trade exchange and other related activities like tourist, trade, economic, cultural, educational and information fairs as a key prelude for a stabile socio-economic development.

The OIC, as a platform promoting unity of the Islamic nation, is in need of a persistent effort to further bolster its role and upgrade its working mechanisms to stand up to daunting challenges the Muslim World is facing. As these challenges are enormous, tremendous, multi-faceted and complicated, we back efforts being made by the OIC Secretary General to implement resolutions issued by the OIC extraordinary summit in regards to the 10-year action plan designed to address and handle problems and challenges the Muslim nation is passing through. This plan, if implemented, will not only enable the nation to preserve its identity, civilization and its sublime human values but also its interaction and contribution to maintaining peace, stability and sustainable development worldwide.

We also appreciate tireless efforts the OIC Secretary General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and his aides to strengthen the OIC's capacity and role in defending Arab-Islamic causes and advance joint Islamic action. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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