OIC Press Release
|13 February 2001|
The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, saluted the heroes of the auspicious Intifida of the Palestinian people who are facing brutal and barbaric oppression at the hands of the Israeli military machine, hailing their stead fastness and sacrifices which will certainly and inevitably lead to them recovering their legitimate national rights, particularly the establishment of a Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. Such were the words of Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz at his inauguration of the proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural, and Social Affairs (ICECS) which started on Saturday morning 16 Dhul Quida 1421H (10 February 2001).
In his address to the Meeting, the Secretary General commended the pioneering role undertaken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque, King Fahd bin Abdel Aziz, May Allah preserve him, in supporting and defending the Islamic causes at regional and international levels, through the support and assistance extended to the efforts of the Organization of the Islamic Conference so as to enable it to fulfil the role entrusted to it in the different arenas and in international forums.
Addressing the issues tabled before the Commission, the Secretary General emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation and coordination among member states in the field of commerce, particularly through expanding the scope of trade exchanges in the light of international variables and conditions dictating such cooperation, particularly with world economic growth reaching 4.2% in 2000 and member states failing to take advantage of that growth. In this regard, the Secretary General said, “The harsh competition imposed by the realities of globalization in the economic and commercial fields, highlights the need to expedite the establishment of an Islamic Common Market to address the imbalance and instability that have marked international money markets”.
On the cultural front, Dr. Belkeziz addressed the issue of the Cultural Strategy of the Islamic World, whose draft was adopted by the second session of the Islamic Conference of Ministers of Culture, emphasizing the need to raise the necessary funds to implement the projects scheduled under the Cultural Plan. In his speech, the Secretary General also discussed the various social issues figuring on the agenda of the meeting, particularly the role of women in social development, rights of children and youth issues regarding which His Excellency reaffirmed the continuing role of the General Secretariat as the coordinator between member states in elaborating and following a comprehensive policy on education, rehabilitation, and care and protection in this field so as to achieve smooth adaptability to the requirements of the modern age while preserving the noble values and principles of Islam.
Highlighting the repercussions of the information revolution and globalization, the Secretary General recalled the key address delivered by Prime Minister, Mahatir Ben Mohamed at the opening of the 27th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held last year in Kuala Lumpur, when His Excellency emphasized the need to enhance the OIC level of performance, restructure the Organization, and modernize it so as to enable it to fulfil its role in the service of joint Islamic action. In this regard His Excellency sough inspiration from the spirit of the speech delivered a few weeks ago at the international Davos Forum in Switzerland by His Highness, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar and Chairman of the Islamic Summit Conference, who addressed the issue of globalization and the position of Islam thereon with an open mind and modern spirit looking forward to taking advantage of everything that may move us forward on the road of progress within the framework of respecting our tolerant Islamic religion. On another front, Dr. Belkeziz highlighted the initiative launched by H.E. Mr. Syed Mohamed Khatami, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Dialogue among Civilizations given its importance for the Islamic world.
Following the address delivered to meeting by the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the meeting elected the members of its Bureau, the Republic of Mali being elected as Chairman and the Republic of Egypt, the State of Palestine, and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, as members, and Malaysia as Rapporteur.
It is of note that the meeting of the 24th Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs (ICECS) will be considering over the course of the next five days several economic, cultural and social issues facing the Islamic countries as well as the role and activities of the subsidiary organs and institutions of the Organization of the Islamic Conference working in these fields in support of joint Islamic action.