Conflict, reform on OIC Yemen agenda

Armed conflicts in the Muslim world and reform within the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) are just two of the issues bringing 43 foreign ministers to the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, for a three-day summit.

    OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu plans to overhaul the conference

    The 32nd OIC foreign ministers' meeting, beginning on Tuesday, is also set to tackle issues such as UN reform, Islamic representation in the UN Security Council, Palestine and the status of Jerusalem.

    Conference spokesman Bakhit Manan told on Monday that the agenda was likely be dominated by the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Cyprus and Kashmir.

    "Officially, there were over 50 topics for discussion but most of these were dealt with in a preparatory meeting in Jedda last month.

    "I assure you this is not going to be talk for its own sake, I think that five or six issues will dominate," Manan said.

    Discussions are also to include Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the 2005 Conference for the Review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in addition to the refugee crisis in the Islamic world.
    The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam has made it onto the agenda, along with a strategy to deal with poverty, Muslim minorities in non-OIC countries, the eradication of polio and opportunities for women in Islamic society. 
    OIC reform

    Manan added that secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu would also be submitting a report profiling a three-pronged reform programme designed to boost Islamic solidarity among the member states.


    "We don't need these talks to produce a whole list of decisions; what we need is the creation of political will that encourages the Islamic world into taking a leading role in the international community"

    Abu Bakr al-Qirbi,
    Yemeni foreign minister

    "Firstly, Ihsanoglu will be looking to get the organisation restructured - let's not forget that, after the UN, the OIC is the largest international organisation. But its budget is miniscule by comparison.

    "Secondly, he'll want to start a process by which the OIC charter gets changed. We are even talking about changing the organisation's name. Conference implies a talking shop - Ihsanoglu is talking about becoming a highly effective body for forming consensus in the Islamic world.

    The spokesman added that a third objective would be achieved by 28 June, when foreign ministers would have helped specify the organisation's key-objectives over the next year. 
    Political will

    In a press conference with Ihsanoglu on Sunday, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said the three-day event would define Islamic world issues for the 21st century.
    "It will also help us define our policies and the programmes that will support them as well as aid the reform of the OIC," al-Qirbi said.

    "We don't need these talks to produce a whole list of decisions; what we need is the creation of political will that encourages the Islamic world into taking a leading role in the international community."

    The last OIC foreign minister meeting was held in Istanbul in June 2004, and was dominated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    The Conference was established in 1969 and currently has 57 states from Africa, Asia and Europe as members.


    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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