بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
H.E. Abdul Aziz Kamilov, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan
H.E. Secretary General of the OIC,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please allow me to begin by congratulating the Government of Uzbekistan on assuming the Chairmanship of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers. Uzbekistan can stand assured of our full support and cooperation, as we are confident that your able leadership, Mr. Chairman, will help us advance our progress on the many issues on our agenda.
We also commend His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Khaled-Al-Hamad Al Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, for his stewardship during the 42nd Session of the Council of Ministers, and we are grateful to His Excellency Secretary General Madani and his team for the time and effort put into the preparation of today’s meeting.
This past April, at the 13th Summit of the OIC in Istanbul, we adopted our 2025 Program of Action. That landmark event symbolized the OIC’s evolving role in an ever-changing international landscape, in which new challenges have emerged, threatening peace, security and prosperity in OIC member-states, and the broader international community. As such, we adopted a new vision that will enable us to be more responsive and to deal with the dominant challenges of the 21st century in a more effective and resolute manner.
In that light, I wish to highlight the centrality of cooperation within the OIC, and with other regional and international organizations in a broad spectrum of fields highlighted in our program of action, including in the areas of peace and security, poverty eradication, human rights, good-governance and interfaith harmony.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Terrorism continues to pose a grave threat to all of humanity, across all geographical boundaries. Despite continued international efforts to confront this menace, attacks over the past year have increased in different parts of the world, instead of diminishing. Extremist groups have grown in scope and sophistication, now resorting to new tactics and methodologies. For all the harm inflicted on civilian populations worldwide, Muslims remain the overwhelming majority of all victims of terrorism.
Therefore, the onus is on us to reflect on what new measures are required to liberate our societies from radical extremist ideology and combat terrorism more effectively. That means countering the extremist narrative and broadening the horizon of opportunity for our youth so they can strive for success and achieve their full potential. In doing so, we can replace a sense of despair and anguish in some communities with one of confidence and self-actualization, which are essential ingredients in any prosperous society.
In addition, we must work to mobilize a broad range of social forces, including our clerics and civil society to advocate for the message of peace, harmony and co-existence, in accordance with the real spirit of Islam.
Afghanistan itself a prime victim of terrorism, and remains in the front-line in the global fight against this menace. We stand ready to continue cooperating with all our international partners, including the OIC member-states, to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations.
Afghanistan remains concerned about the negative trend, as the situation in a number of countries in the Middle East has yet to improve. In fact, several conflicts have deteriorated even further. In this context, the OIC is well positioned to help foster and propose peaceful solutions to disputes, conflicts and tensions that have jeopardized the security and well-being of millions of people in the Islamic world.
In Syria, we have seen the vicious cycle of violence reach new proportions with mass atrocities being committed that violate Islamic and international laws, including international humanitarian law. Recent images from the city of Aleppo offer just a glimpse of what innocent civilians experience on a daily basis. By now, it is even more evident that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Syria. Relevant stakeholders must, therefore, engage in a constructive dialogue to end the deadly war and violence and to create a favorable environment for a political solution that will lead to national unity and sustainable peace in Syria.
Moreover, we express our concern over the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which continues with no end in sight. Afghanistan calls on the parties to the conflict to work towards a negotiated peace settlement that will meet the aspirations of the Yemeni people and help them consolidate national unity.
As a staunch supporter of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Afghanistan hopes to see the resumption of direct negotiations for a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem, based on the two-State formula. We must stand firm in our support to the people of Palestine for achieving their right to self-determination. Let us build on the important decisions we took in March in Jakarta, at the 5th OIC Extraordinary Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds Al Sharif to mobilize the necessary political, economic and financial resources for the people of Palestine.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Concerning the situation in my own country, Afghanistan, we have just entered a new phase in our quest to become a secure and prosperous country. In this regard, we are highly encouraged by the successful outcome of the international Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, which convened two weeks ago. It was another milestone in our long-term partnership with the international community to consolidate the achievements of the past 15 years.
In Brussels, we highlighted the important progress of the National Unity Government against key benchmarks of our comprehensive reforms agenda, since the London Conference in 2014. Another key development was the presentation of our new National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), which provides for our overarching strategy to advance progress in the social and economic domains throughout Afghanistan over the next five years.
We were able to secure new pledges of financial commitments. These new commitments will be effectively utilized, and will help enable us to meet the goals of our new development strategy under the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF) in order to consolidate our political stability, increase jobs for our citizens, strengthen democracy and enhance governance and the rule of law for the benefit of all Afghans.
From a security standpoint, enemy forces have increased their attacks, seeking to disrupt our progress towards stability. Last week extremists attacked two mosques in Kabul and Balkh provinces, targeting civilians commemorating Ashura and killing close to 30 innocent civilians and leaving many more wounded, including women, young men, and children.
The attacks were the latest in a series of ill-fated attempts to stoke internal and sectarian divisions among our people. These acts will never subdue us. Our people will remain unified against terrorism, and will never fall victim to the designs of known regional actors, who seek to undermine our unity and stability.
Moreover, as our security forces continue the fight against those committed to violence and terror, we have continued our efforts towards national reconciliation. The peace agreement signed by the the Afghan Government with Hezb-e-Islami has shown that with genuine political will, and an environment conducive for dialogue and understanding, peace can be possible.
We hope it will generate positive momentum for peace talks with reconcilable Taliban who are ready and willing to renounce violence, choose the path of peace, and become law-abiding citizens, adhering to the Afghan Constitution.
I take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation to the many OIC member-states who, among others in the international community, stand by Afghanistan in support and solidarity, as we continue our journey for peace and stability. We are particularly grateful to H.E. Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani, for his personal commitment to elevating to new heights the OIC’s engagement in Afghanistan.
As I highlighted in the OIC annual coordination meeting in NY this past September, we eagerly anticipate and have high hopes about the up-coming international conference of Islamic Scholars in Mecca that will convene in the coming weeks. We should make maximum use of that important meeting to mobilize the vast potential of Islamic clerics and social forces to advocate for an end to violence and terror in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
As we continue our efforts to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, we are focused on finding sustainable solutions to address the difficult conditions still facing our IDP’s and refugees. We are working closely with various international partners, including the UNHCR, to advance progress within the parameters of the 2012 Solutions Strategy, adopted in Geneva. We call for, and would very much appreciate OIC’s increased attention and support for helping us meet the immediate and long-term economic, social and humanitarian needs of Afghan IDP’s and refugees, alongside existing international efforts.
Afghanistan has come a long way in our journey towards stability and prosperity. In this context, I take the opportunity to inform the brotherly OIC member-states of Afghanistan’s candidacy to the Human Rights Council for the period 2018-2020. On the basis of the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, we hope to have your full support for our candidacy.
In conclusion, I reaffirm our commitment to working closely with all OIC members to realize the vision set out in our 2025 Plan of Action. Let me also convey our gratitude to the many OIC member-states, who are proactively engaged in supporting Afghanistan’s stability and prosperity.
I Thank You!