OIC Press Release
|7 March 2000|
In a new step which reactivates the efforts geared towards the achievement of a negotiated political settlement and which forms a continuation of the good offices consistently contributed by the OIC, at all levels, regional, Islamic and international, in cooperation with international organizations ever since the onset of the Afghan crisis, the OIC General Secretariat is hosting at its headquarters in Jeddah, as of Tuesday 1 Zil Hijja 1420H (7 March 2000), a series of meetings with representatives of the Taliban Government and representatives of the various Afghan factions which form the (opposition) Northern United Front.
This move comes as a new attempt to explore ways to bring about reconciliation and close the gaps between the concerned parties, bringing their views closer together and patching up differences between them as fellow citizens for the benefit of achieving peace and re-establishing stability in the Muslim country of Afghanistan.
The first round of these sessions which were set in motion through a meeting with the delegation of the Taliban Government, was attended by Dr. Jawad Zarif, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as head of the OIC delegation and representatives of the Eighth Islamic Summit Chairmanship, as well as by the OIC Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Bakr, and Ambassador Mohamed Saleh Zaimi, Director of Cabinet of the OIC Secretary General, alongwith the Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to Tehran, Mr. Saeed Nasr Romdhan and Mr. Ayaz Wazir, Director General at the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan, and Mr. Fransisco Fenderel, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan and personal representative to the Jeddah negotiations.
On the Afghan side, the first session was attended by the delegation of the Taliban Government led by Mr. Amir Khan Muttaki, Chairman of the Executive Organ in the Taliban Government, and including, as member, Mr. Mohamed Abdulwahab, the Afghan Charge d’Affaires at the Afghan embassy to Riyadh.
The Meeting started with a statement delivered by Ambassador Ibrahim Bakr on behalf of the OIC Secretary General, in which he welcomed the members of the Taliban Government to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He pointed out that this initiative on the part of the Organization of the Islamic Conference does not carry in its folds any specific mechanism or proposed solutions to the Afghan problems and that it rather forms a conciliatory attempt aimed at curbing difficulties and defining the points of convergence and divergence of views between the Afghan brothers in the hope and optimism that these opening days of the Holy Month of Zil Hijja could auger well for a blessed and rewarding forward progress towards peace in Afghanistan such as to ensure their legitimate national rights for all Afghan people.
Thereafter, the delegation of the Taliban Government submitted a detailed presentation on the stand of its Government towards the issue.
It is worth noting here that a delegation stemming from OIC Ah-hoc Committee on Afghanistan, Chaired by Mr. Jawad Zarif, had provided feedback to the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, at the delegation’s visit to New York early in the current month of March, on the OIC’s efforts in favour of the re-establishment of peace in Afghanistan. The delegation requested Mr. Kofi Annan to send a UN Envoy to monitor the Jeddah meeting and take part in it, and delivered to Mr. Kofi Annan a message from the OIC Secretary General Dr. Azeddine Laraki, in which he reiterated the continued cooperation between the two organizations, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions as well as the OIC resolutions concerning the situation in Afghanistan.