HIS Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on Monday said a true image of Islam is gaining more and more international acceptance in spite of the international media’s obsession with extremism, violence and warfare.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is now as technical, professional and responsible as any in the world. It has embraced globalism in a most constructive way and this is why we are seeing progress in many aspects of our work, said HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah at the 40th Session of the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held at the Palais des Nations, Conakry, Republic of Guinea.
His Royal Highness, during the General Debate, delivered a statement on the conference’s theme “Dialogue of Civilisations: A factor for Peace and Sustainable Development”.
The meeting was opened by President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea and chaired by the State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Guineans Abroad, Francois Lounceny Fall.
His Royal Highness delivered opening remarks on behalf of the Asian Group at the opening session.
His Royal Highness held a meeting with Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and discussed bilateral cooperation.
His Royal Highness Monday evening also attended a welcoming dinner hosted by Minister Fall.
In the statement delivered by HRH, he said, “We join Africa and the world in mourning the late Nelson Mandela. We share the sadness of his passing, the deep inspiration that is his legacy and the hope for the future that was his gift to developing nations.
“For all who share our faith, the OIC is making that hope real.
“In the spirit of our theme today, it is giving us the means to engage in modern development planning. The mechanisms for this are firmly in place.
“We have a powerful reference point in the welfare of the people we represent, regardless of their history, their geography or their cultural background.
“We have measurable targets in all areas of life and we have identified the sustainable resources needed to achieve them.
“These are in place because of the excellent work of our secretariat and our committees, our new Charter, our 10-year Programme of Action, our human rights commission, our humanitarian and family affairs department, our promotion of international and interfaith dialogue and our people’s access to the highest levels of cultural and intellectual study.
“All these shape our people’s lives today. They cover nearly every part of international life: political; social; cultural; economic; financial and spiritual,” said HRH.
“As a result, if you look through our secretariat reports, you have one overall impression. Our organisation is now as technical, professional and responsible as any in the world. It has embraced globalism in a most constructive way. I think this is why we are seeing progress in many aspects of our work.
“Politically, the restoration of justice in Palestine is now measurable in specific United Nations action,” HRH added.
“And in spite of the international media’s obsession with extremism, violence and warfare a true image of Islam is gaining more and more international acceptance.
“Our people at every level have new opportunities offered in education and health through our programme of action. In banking, investment, and trade, our approach is respected. Our social and family values are increasingly acknowledged. As a result, Islam is seen as a positive force in the modern world.
“The list of achievements in the past nine years is remarkable. It is a magnificent contribution to twenty-first century life.
“So, we would like to congratulate Professor Ihsanoglu, our outgoing Secretary-General. We thank him very much indeed for his dedication and commitment and we warmly congratulate him on the recognition which has been conferred upon him today.
“And, at the same time in Dr Iyad Madani, we feel we have a new Secretary-General with the proven skill, talent and imagination to keep building on this exciting record.
“In fact, we are already doing this with great success,” said HRH.
“The contribution of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud is a fine example. The centres for dialogue in Vienna and Riyadh are doing a tremendous job in building respect between regions and cultures.
“Hence, the relevance of our theme at this meeting.
“This is because we are about to meet a very demanding challenge. Our Mecca Programme of Action will soon have to be assessed and its future planned. And we cannot do this on our own. Political, economic and social affairs today are far too inter-dependent.
“So, our positive approach is extremely valuable.
“It means our governments and people can benefit a great deal from international dialogue. The human development, the practical investment, the common understanding and the long-term commitments that result are essential.
“They mean jobs, training, education, healthcare, security, entertainment, sport, culture and the “peace and sustainable development” that lead to confidence and self-belief.
“So, if we are asked whether international dialogue can be a ‘factor’ in promoting ‘peace’ and ‘sustainable development’, we would certainly answer ‘Yes!’,” said HRH.
- Borneo Bulletin
(11 December 2013)