28 JUNE, 1999

In the Name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful

and peace and prayers be upon the best of all Messengers Sayedna Muhammad and on his kith and kin and companions


Excellency President Blaise Compaore,

President of Burkina Faso,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

It is indeed a signal honor that the Twenty-Sixth (26th) Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) be held in this youthful country. Besides, West Africa, where Burkina Faso is located, has been one of the bastions that helped bear the torch of Islamic civilization and culture. It also produced men whose renown spread across the fields of human knowledge.

Credit should, likewise, be given to the outstanding role played by Burkina Faso in the affairs of the rising African Continent. I am referring to a state which joined the OIC in 1975 and is today playing with determination a great part in the OIC’s activities. No doubt that Burkina Faso will constantly contribute towards reinforcing joint Islamic action and enhancing Muslim solidarity.

Allow me, on this auspicious occasion, to pay tribute and express my deep appreciation to His Excellency President Blaise Compaore who personally took the initiative of gracing this Conference by inaugurating it and delivering comprehensive address containing constructive ideas and views. I should like, by the same token, to voice my gratitude and pleasure to the Government and people of Burkina Faso for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to the participating delegations ever since they set foot in this country and for mobilizing all the potentialities at their disposal to ensure the success of the event.

We look forward to the election of His Excellency Mr.Youssouf OUEDRAOGO, Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, as Chairman of the Twenty-Sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in keeping with the customary practice. We are confident that His Excellency will steer the proceedings of our Conference with his well-known wisdom and competence, and will thus ensure the expected success of our proceedings by the grace of Allah.

My thanks and appreciation also go to His Excellency Sheikh Hamad ibn Jasem ibn Jabr Al-Thani, Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar and Chairman of the 25th ICFM, for the selfless efforts he deployed with ever renewed energy and remarkable capability throughout his tenure and for the spirit of cooperation which has been his with the General Secretariat and in international for a and which had had the greatest effect in all that has been accomplished by the grace of Allah.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Ouagadougou is witnessing this grand Islamic gathering at a time when our Ummah is going through one of the most delicate phases in its modern history. There is no doubt that the people of this great Ummah are pinning their hopes and aspirations and praying for God to crown our proceedings with success and let our dreams come true.

My presence in this country, which lies in the heart of Africa 26 of whose 56 states are OIC members, affords me the opportunity to recall that Africa’s relations with the Islamic world, including, of course, the Arab, rather than emanating from prevailing political and economic circumstances, are deep-rooted in History. No wonder, then, that we are witnessing growing of the effective role assumed by Islamic culture in all parts of Africa which heralds a bright and a promising future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today’s Conference is being held, 16 months after the 25th ICFM in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, during which time events succeeded each other at an intensive and rapid pace.

Permit me, at the outset, to deal with the cause that is foremost among our preoccupations, namely the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the Arab-Israeli conflict. As you all know, this Conference is being held while the Middle East peace process continues to be deadlocked. The five years, which the Palestinian-Israeli agreement had defined as a transitional phase, have elapsed without Israel having pulled out of the occupied territories and without any indications of the final solution to the issue. Moreover, the peace process remains stalled on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks. Close and remote observers both realize that it is Israel which conduced us to the present stalemate as it reneged on all the agreements signed in the context of the peace process, refused to implement them and resorted to illegitimate and illegal practices. As usual, it indulged in deliberately confiscating more land and property and kept on building settlements. Moreover, it kept on demolishing Palestinian homes and compelled the Arab inhabitants to leave their cities and villages. It also imposed a siege and never stopped apprehending and detaining freedom fighters while escalating its aggressions on Lebanese territories.

The OIC has supported the peace process along the groundworks laid in Madrid and the Security Council resolutions stipulating total Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestinian and Arab lands, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the Syrian Arab Golan and the occupied Lebanese territories. It calls for the empowerment of the Palestinian people insofar as their inalienable national rights are concerned, including the right to return, to self-determination and set up their Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

At this crucial stage, the OIC calls upon the international community to see to it that Israel immediately stop building colonial settlements on occupied Palestinian and Arab land, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif and take action for the Zionist state to comply with the relevant decisions of the international legality, begin negotiations on the final stage and resume talks on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks from where they had been halted in February, 1996.

The Organization, reaffirming the place which the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif occupies in the hearts of all Arabs and Muslims, considers all the measures which Israel strove hard to impose in Al-Quds as null and void and devoid of any legal ground whatsoever.

On this occasion, I invite OIC member States to reaffirm their solidarity with the Palestinian people, act to strengthen the position of the Palestinian negotiator and extend all kinds of financial, economic and political assistance to our Palestinian brothers to help them establish their own state.

I think I would be failing in my duty if I did not warmly congratulate the people of Lebanon on the return of the city of Jazin to Lebanese sovereignty, without strings or conditions and in the context of national dignity.

Another pressing issue that re-emerged in the international arena lately, about four months ago, more than ever before, is the cause of the majority ethnic Albanians in Kosova whose ordeal is in everyone’s mind. The ferocious Serbian onslaught has made homeless over a million of the province’s Muslims by leaving them no choice but to abandon their homes and hearth on fire, driven out by an iron fist by way of an unprecedented ethnic cleansing campaign.

The OIC, extremely preoccupied by that tragic situation, stresses the imperative necessity of implementing the recent resolution of the Security Council which provides, in particular, for the return of Kosovar refugees to their homes in safety and dignity as soon as possible. If the intervention by NATO forces is really designed to defeat the Serbian racist policy, as is being said, then the international community is, at present, dutybound, after all the concerned parties agreed to the peace plan approved by the Security Council, to move into speeding up the return of Kosovar refugees to their homeland. While deeply concerned by the conflict in Kosova, which constitutes a terrible catastrophe, the OIC has always been cautious as not to deal with this issue, from a religious point of view, as merely an aggression being carried out against a specific religious group, but a devastating human tragedy worrying and affecting the conscience of mankind, as well as a blatant violation of human rights as enshrined in world conventions.

Closely monitoring the development of events in that part of the world and aware of its responsibility, the OIC issued a large number of statements reiterating its stance. It also held several meetings in Geneva and New York.

The first week of April last saw a meeting, at ministerial level in Geneva, of the Contact Group in question. The latter came up with a series of recommendations, including a call for action to intensify humanitarian aid to Kosovar refugees; an end to the forceful deportation of the province’s inhabitants; good offices for the United Nations and its Security Council to play their role in the re-establishment of peace and security in the area; and handing over to justice the war criminals responsible for the atrocities which the province’s population is subjected to.

In that framework, a delegation representing the Islamic Contact Group on Bosnia, Herzegovina and Kosova visited Germany, Russia, Italy and Albania to discuss the matter with officials of those states. Also, within the limits of its possibilities, the OIC provided financial assistance to the refugees.

In the same vein, a committee stemming from the Islamic Contact Group was set up in Geneva to be charged with coordinating with the humanitarian institutions undertaking their activities on the borders of neighboring countries of the Province of Kosova. In recognition of the role that may be played by the Organization of the Islamic Conference in coordinating peace efforts in Kosova, H.E. the Secretary General of the United Nations graciously sent me an invitation to join the "Group of the Friends of the UN Secretary General for Kosova" which will meet at ministerial level the day after tomorrow at UN headquarters in New York. As this meeting coincides with our Conference, I instructed the Permanent Representative of the OIC at the UN in New York to represent me. It should be pointed out that, aside from the European Union and the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of the Islamic Conference is the only regional organization which has been involved in this initiative, in which there will also be a participation of the permanent members of the Security Council as well as Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Turkey. This initiative falls within the framework of the consultation and coordination that the UN Secretary General intends to undertake for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1244 on Kosova.

As for OIC member States they wasted no time in extending humanitarian and financial assistance and despatching medical missions. Some of them even built camps to shelter the refugees. The fact is that the contributions of OIC members, on both the official and popular levels, was something to be proud of. It emanated from Muslim and human solidarity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Regarding the situation in the Gulf, it is yet another source of preoccupation to us, owing to the severe sequels of the second Gulf war that resulted in a double ordeal: the effects of the embargo imposed on Iraq for several years now, and the untold human suffering and heavy material losses sustained by the people of the State of Kuwait. We hope that such a shameful plight end up as early as possible in seeing the Kuwaiti families reunited with their beloved ones now still missing.

The international community is hereby urged to see to it that the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people are met to alleviate their harsh suffering, awaiting that the embargo, which last for too long, be lifted. In this respect, I would like to restate the OIC’s keenness on preserving Iraq’s territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty all over its territories.

In Asia, the Afghan civil war is still raging, despite the fact that the conflict there cannot be decisively settled by the use of arms. Only a political resolution may restore peace and stability to that Muslim country.

The combined efforts of the OIC and the UN have managed to convince the Taleban Movement and the Northern Coalition to sit together at the negotiating table in Islamabad. In fact, the OIC received with a sigh of relief news that the talks that had taken place in Ashgabad, the capital of Turkmenistan, had culminated into an agreement between the Movement and the country’s opposition. Reference is made here to the accord that provided for power sharing and the exchange of war prisoners and which, indeed, was the result of the joint effort in question. However, it is regrettable that a new set back has occurred as a consequence of the vacillation of the parties to the conflict to put into practice this accord. From this podium, I, once again, invite the Afghan parties concerned to let the values of fraternity, tolerance and forgiveness prevail and embark determiningly on settling this crisis once and for all in the best interest of the Afghan people and, by so doing, lay solid foundations for security and stability in the area.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Concerning the so-called " Lockerbie crisis ", we all greeted the recent positive developments, namely the handing over of the two Libyan suspects after the three Western powers concerned agreed to the guarantees which the Jamahiriya had requested. Credit for that long-awaited development is due to the successful mediation and active good offices of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Africa, along with other parties. We greatly hope that all sanctions against the brotherly Libyan Jamahiriya would be lifted very soon.

As for Jammu and Kashmir, the conflict took a grave turn since the beginning of last May when India launched air raids and ground attacks on the Pakistani border areas near Kashmir, which escalation brought the two countries to the brink of real war. The OIC joined the pressing appeals addressed to both sides to show self-restraint and refrain from exacerbating the situation any further.

Here, I should like to express our appreciation for the efforts put up and that are still being exerted by the Pakistani government for a dialogue with India in a bid to reduce tension and bring about a political settlement of the conflict in Kashmir. It is incumbent upon the international community to encourage that trend by making concerted efforts to bring that chronic conflict to an end in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and do whatever it takes to end the nuclear arms race in the Indian Subcontinent.

The OIC which, as you know, is playing an active part in trying to consolidate peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is following with keen interest the implementation of the Dayton Agreements in the framework of the current endeavors to arrive at the establishment of a unified, sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina, ensure the implementation of the special programs for the country’s reconstruction and secure the financial resources necessary for that purpose as well as the return to that country of the refugees and displaced persons.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to revisit some African affairs, thus reaffirming the interest vested by the OIC in that continent. My work program at the beginning of this year included the visit of a number of African OIC member states, namely Gambia, Benin, Togo, Guinea and Sudan. That tour afforded me the opportunity to discuss with the heads of those states the civil war that had erupted in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. The tour produced some favorable echoes and helped in further sensitizing the continent’s Muslim inhabitants as to the concept of Islamic solidarity.

On this occasion, I would like to express my deep appreciation of the efforts deployed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG) to reinstate the legitimate government under the leadership of President Al-Haj Ahmad Tijan Kebah Vice-chairman of the 8th Islamic summit, in that country.

The Organization condemned the use of force in Guinea Bissau, which ran counter to the Lome Agreements. But it is heartwarming that the new authority these has pledged to conduct free and fair elections, in spite of the expulsion of President Joao Bernando Vieira.

The OIC strongly condemns the assassination of President Mainassara of Niger. Pursuant to its rejection of the use of force to settle the political differences, the OIC is closely following up fulfillment of the promises of the Government of Niger to restore constitutional life.

The OIC followed with deep concern the evolution of the situation in the Federal Republic of the Comoros, which witnessed events that do not help the Comorian people foster their national unity and recover the island of Mayotte; nay they might lead to the country’s isolation and deprivation of assistance from the international community. We hope that the constituent parts of the Comorian society would give precedence to wisdom in order to safeguard national unity.

As for the war in Somalia, it still constitutes a source of deep anxiety. It is noted that numerous plans had been laid down to end the war and that the warring Somali factions declared on many occasions that they had agreed on a ceasefire, same as they signed a host of peace agreements, and that the OIC had was still actively and effectively taking part in the international and regional efforts being exerted to end the bloodshed, but none of all that has yielded any tangible result.

If I may submit a proposal in this connection, the Conference should move forward and establish an open-ended contact group to examine the initiatives mooted by several parties, to make the most out of their elements in cooperation with the international organizations concerned. By so doing, we would manage to revive the plan once proposed by His Excellency President Abdou Diouf of the Republic of Senegal. It called for action to be taken with a view to holding an international conference on Somalia, it being known that the OIC is participating in both international and regional peace efforts and effectively pursuing its cooperation with the UN, the OAU, the League of Arab States and the countries concerned in the area, to arrive at a settlement.

But Africa, thanks be to God, has seen noticeable positive achievements. In this context, I would like to commend the success of the elections that recently took place in Nigeria and the return of democracy in that great country. Similarly, I should like to express my appreciation to the governments of Mali and Niger for the progress they scored while endeavoring to integrate the Touareg in the nation’s fabric.

Our Organization, as you know, is devoting a special interest to the critical economic situation in Africa which the countries of the continent, including, the African OIC member states, are still facing. This issue remained constant on the agendas of our meetings. The Organization is working hard, while giving substance to the true meaning of Islamic solidarity and cohesion, to rally international aid and assistance from member states to boost the African economy and in a bid to alleviate the debt burden of the countries affected by that scourge.

The Committee of Islamic Solidarity with the Peoples of the African Sahel continues to meet regularly to see how best to contribute to reviving that drought and desertification-stricken area. Likewise, the OIC is doing its utmost to ensure the continuity of its joint program with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, known in French as CILSS. It is noteworthy that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, together with Kuwait and the IDB, are financing projects worth a total eighty million (80,000,000) US dollars.

I seize this opportunity, here today, to express our deep gratitude to the donor countries for what they have already given and request all able member States to keep up their support in carrying out the joint program I mentioned which had been prepared in implementation of a resolution adopted by the Sixth (6th) Islamic Summit.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The OIC always devotes a great deal of attention to the issue of Muslim communities and minorities. It is coordinating efforts, in this respect, with the countries concerned, on both the regional and international levels, to improve the lot of those minorities and communities across the world, while keenly observing the sovereignty of the states in which they live. Whereas defending the rights of such minorities is the Ummah’s duty, it is a secret to no one that the care provided to them by their respective states encourages the Muslims in question to bring in their effective contribution to the countries’ development.

It is worthwhile referring here to the settlement reached between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines as a result of the efforts exerted by member states of the OIC Six Member Committee, in cooperation with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Indonesia at that time and with MNLF Chairman Professor Nur Misuari – such cooperation paved the way for signing the peace agreement in September, 1996. At the same time, I call upon the Government of the Philippines to honor its pledges and act, without delay, procrastination, prevarication or slowness, to make good on its commitments in full so that the agreement in question may not remain a dead letter.

One other issue which, unfortunately, was not that lucky in arriving at a just political settlement is the cause of the Muslim Cypriot Turkish community which looks forward to such a resolution as would respect the principle of political equality and be acceptable to the two Cypriot communities concerned: the Turkish and the Greek.

Another source of preoccupation and anxiety to our Organization is the aggression launched by the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan. One pressing need is for the Republic of Armenia to withdraw its forces from the occupied Azeri territories in favor of peace in that part of the world. It also behooves the international community to intensify its efforts aiming at achieving a just and comprehensive settlement of that conflict, based on respect of the principles of the states’ territorial integrity and the inviolability of internationally recognized boundaries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The present ICFM session is taking place at a time when OIC member states are preoccupied with a number of phenomena having an indirect bearing on their growth and world economic performance. Despite the fact that the effects of the turmoil and severe financial crises faced by a number of major economies in the world have been contained to a certain extent, they are still casting their shadow on the world economy. The failure on the part of the international monetary institutions to guarantee stability in a world resting on the flow of capital across borders has drawn attention everywhere. Likewise, the fierce competition inherent in globalization and the liberalization of international trade are among the roadblocks faced by developing countries, including the OIC member states.

Many a practical measure has been adopted in the framework of the OIC to counter such negative aspects quickly and effectively, except that they ought to be implemented without delay. Their essense is non else but the intensification of economic cooperation among member states through the efficient liberalization of trade and the bolstering of cooperation with the private sector while giving a powerful thrust to coordination in the field of investment and joint ventures among OIC members.

Which leads us to an evaluation of the implementation of the OIC Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic and Commercial Cooperaion Among Member States. That implementation began two years ago through a series of expert group meetings on several priority areas.

There is yet another field which requires our attention, namely the ways and means to encourage member states to speed up the signing and ratification of the various statutes and agreements prepared by the OIC to constitute a legal framework designed to increase the volume of trade and foster economic cooperation among OIC members. It is indeed regrettable that many an important agreement, such as the Framework Agreement on the Preferential Trade System, finalized in 1995, has not yet entered the implementation phase in view of the lack of quorum in terms of signatures and ratifications.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On the cultural plane, the OIC General Secretariat has endeavored to work out the necessary mechanism to follow-up the idea of a constructive dialogue with other contemporary civilizations – an idea launched by His Excellency Sayed Muhammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Chairman of the Eighth (8th) Islamic Summit. That initiative was widely greeted by international bodies, especially the UN which decided to proclaim the year 2001 as the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations. For this reason, an Islamic symposium opened in Tehran on May 03, 1999 to evolve an Islamic Strategy for a Constructive Dialogue with Other Civilizations. It was attended by a number of Muslim scholars and intellectuals and came out with the "Tehran Declaration" inviting representatives of other civilizations to participate in identifying all shared moral and ethical values that may constitute a backbone that could be relied upon for the establishment of the New World Order.

In line with that spirit and proceeding along the course of dialogue among civilizations and to acquaint others with our Islamic civilization, the OIC Permanent Observer Mission to the UN has agreed with the management of the Metropolitan Museum in New York to organize a fair of Islamic civilizations and fine arts in the said museum on October 1st, this year, i.e. the day when the Annual Coordination Meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers will open alongside the 54th General Assembly. Their Excellencies the OIC foreign ministers will graciously inaugurate the fair in the presence of those prominent and well-noted personalities taking part in the Assembly’s proceedings.

Furthermore, the OIC General Secretariat has endeavored to cement cultural ties among its member states. In cooperation with the Islamic States Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Second Islamic Conference of Ministers of Culture (ICMC) met in Rabat from 12 to 14 November 1998, under the high patronage of His Majesty King Hassan II of Morocco.

The said conference laid down the appropriate mechanisms for implementing the Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World. It charged ISESCO to follow-up the matter with the competent authorities in member states, in coordination with the OIC General Secretariat.

On the other hand, the General Secretariat has spent quite a long time to overcome the problems faced by the Islamic universities in Niger and Uganda which are among the OIC’s most important achievements ever since its inception, owing to the role everbody hopes they will play in propagating Islamic culture and familiarizing the people of the continent with the particularities of that culture. The General Secretariat is, at present, making contacts with some donor parties to provide the necessary funds for the Waqf (trust-fund) set up to ensure enough steady income for those two universities and, thus, making possible for them to cope with their difficulties.

Special care was devoted as well to social issues. Actually, the General Secretariat is preparing for the First Islamic Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports which will be hosted by the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the near future to discuss various issues concerning youth in Islamic societies.

Whenever it participated in an international meeting, the OIC Secretariat laid stress on the role of Muslim women in society and worked to consolidate ties among women’s organizations in the Islamic world.

As for the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF), it proved, ever since its establishment, twenty-four (24) years ago, its capability to serve Islamic societies. In fact the scope of its activities has been broadened and diversified to encompass the fields of education, culture, scientific research and technology. It also supported the budgets of the Islamic universities and promoted social and spiritual projects as well as the action of Islamic centers, associations and foundations. We hope that member states shall, in turn, do all that they could to support the ISF and its Waqf, in line with the decisions of the Islamic summits and ICFMs.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The areas of activity covered by the OIC in the judicial field include three categories: human rights, combating international terrorism, and the legal structure for intra-Islamic cooperation:

Regarding the first category, the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam has crystallized the principles and concepts governing the Organization’s activities in that field. The Declaration stressed that Islam – the religion of tolerance – was fourteen (14) centuries ahead of the man-made legislation in underlining the necessity to respect human rights. But despite all, there is always a dire need to disseminate such principles and concepts and publicize them in facing the ferocious onslaughts, calumnies and phoney accusations directed against Islam, which has been the quest of the successive summit and foreign ministerial conferences in the form of resolutions which the General Secretariat spares no effort to ensure their implementation along with coordination among member states in this respect.

It is worth recalling in this juncture that the UNHCHR organized in Geneva, at the end of last year, and in collaboration with the OIC, a Symposium on the Islamic Perspectives On the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A select Group of Muslim experts in Sharia and Law participated in the Symposium.

The United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Robinson, underscored in her address Islam’s contribution towards safeguarding the sublimity and dignity of Man. She also pointed out the role of the OIC in organizing the Symposium and the support extended to it by His Majesty King Hassan II, sovereign of the Kingdom of Morocco and Mr. Agha Khan.

With regard to international terrorism, it has become obvious that it is a phenomenon which some big powers in the world are trying to associate with specific countries. Although our states have condemned terrorism in all its forms, such powers turn a deaf ear and insist on linking it with the national movements struggling to liberate their countries. Therefore, the OIC still considers the holding of an international conference for finding a definition to terrorism and drawing a distinction between it and people’s struggle for freedom as a matter of the utmost importance.

As you know, the OIC has adopted the Code of Conduct to Combat Terrorism and is making every effort to let the member states conclude a cooperation agreement in this connection, proceeding from the contents of that Code and in compliance with the directives of the Eighth (8th) Islamic summit in this regard.

Insofar as the legal framework designed to regulate cooperation among member states, it provides for signing a number of agreements under the Organization’s supervision, especially in the economic field, given the fact that the current stage of development, which the international community has reached, is characterized by major groupings, not to say blocs. Indeed the major hurdle for the agreements I mentioned to go into effect is the lack of quorum in their ratification, which is the sine qua non condition for their implementation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me, before concluding my address, to sound a brief note on the financial situation of the General Secretariat. This situation has been the concern of the Secretary General, who has endeavoured, since assuming office, to develop the functioning of the General Secrfetariat in order to keep abreast of international developments and successive global changes.

A number of member States have kindly extended voluntary donations thus helping the General Secretariat to overcome a financial crisis that almost ruined it. Those generous donations enabled the General Secretariat to repay a great portion of its accumulated debts. However, collection of contributions and arrears has been below the required level. Only twenty member States have paid their contributions according to their defined dates to the budget of the General Secretariat for the current year. Had it not been for the initiative of some States to pay their arrears, the difficult financial situation that had prevailed two years ago, would have reasserted itself.

By virtue of the policy of rationalization, ascertained by the Finance Control Organ, the General Secretariat was able to solve a number of financial problems, such as the problem of overtime work. Similarly, twenty new employees were hired, and about sixty employees, whose degrees had been frozen for several years, were promoted. Preparatory steps have been undertaken to create an end-of-service fund at the General Secretariat, in order to cover the entitlements of those whose services expire, in response to a recommendation by the FCO.

At the administrative level, several reforms have been instituted and regulations have been rigorously implemented which helped to execute the approved budget without over-expenditure. These measures are presented in detail in the report prepared by the General Secretariat on the current situation of the Organization and the means of its reform, which you will be considering as part of the organic questions to be submitted to you.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our Islamic Ummah, in the four corners of the globe, holds on to the noble principles enshrined in the OIC Charter. It follows that we must leave no stone unturned in fulfilling the lofty objectives we are pursuing, fully confident and believing in a brighter, happier tomorrow.

I avail myself of this opportunity to laud the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which had been in the forefront of those States which established the Jeddah-based Organization. The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques spared no effort to extend a helping hand in order to enable the OIC to perform its tasks in an optimal manner. We are certain that this great Muslim country shall continue to be an example for support and generosity aimed at promoting Islamic solidarity and strengthening joint Islamic action.

"God has promised, to those Among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion – the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace; They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me if any do reject Faith. After this, they are rebellious and wicked." (Al-Nur: 55). Sadaqa Allahu Al-‘Azeem.

I thank you and pray to Allah that He may crown your deliberations with success.