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Kazakhstan hosts Organization of Islamic Conference foreign ministers

June 28, 2011 - ASTANA

An over-full agenda awaits the 38th Session of the Organization of Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers. A big challenge is finding a unified stance on the uprisings spreading across many OIC member countries. The ministers also need to decide on a new date for the 57th OIC Summit. Set for Egypt, it was postponed because of the January uprising. Libya, Pakistan and Somalia remain top OIC concerns, and the organization's efforts to bring the Taliban in Afghanistan to the table continue. The establishment of an OIC human rights commission is high on the agenda.

An over-full agenda awaits the 38th Session of the Organization of Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers. A big challenge is finding a unified stance on the uprisings spreading across many OIC member countries. The ministers also need to decide on a new date for the 57th OIC Summit. Set for Egypt, it was postponed because of the January uprising. Libya, Pakistan and Somalia remain top OIC concerns, and the organization's efforts to bring the Taliban in Afghanistan to the table continue. The establishment of an OIC human rights commission is high on the agenda. OIC member countries in turmoil include Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Libya, and Egypt could flare up again. The Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who participated in the London Conference on Libya on 29 Mar 2011, decried the violence there and said the OIC is fully committed to helping Libyans achieve their legitimate aspirations for freedom and democracy under peaceful environment. He has called for a political solution, including the process of political transition. The question is whether the foreign ministers will echo his request, which could be read as tacit support for rebellions. The Secretary-General had planned to establish an Emergency Disaster Fund at the March summit. Pending the rescheduled summit, the foreign ministers are likely to work to get it moving. It is designed to confront the challenges following natural disasters in Muslim countries, with Pakistan and Somalia particularly targeted for help. Parts of flood-stricken Pakistan are still under water, while Somalia has been afflicted with catastropic drought. The Saudi-based OIC has sought to play a bigger role in solving Muslim world crises through debate among various branches of Islam. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has spoken of his desire for "reconciliation" with members of the Taliban who are not affiliated to al-Qaeda or other terrorist networks. The OIC has reaffirmed a commitment to helping the talks along, but little is happening to encourage the organization's hopes. Recently, Karzai canceled a meeting in Saudi Arabia with a major Muslim group, which was aimed at helping reconciliation efforts with the Taliban. The Taliban leadership could be invited as observers to the June meeting. Kazakhstan assumed the annual OIC presidency in 2011. The 57-Muslim country OIC is the largest intergovernmental organization serving the world's Muslims. It was established in 1969 at the initiative of Saudi Arabia. (WRITTEN Apr 11)

OIC home page

OIC to establish special fund for Pakistan (The News 14 Jan 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-06-28