Prince underscores importance of Ummah to OIC

HIS Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday morning attended the Opening Session of the Council at the Conference Palace, Jeddah.

The meeting was chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal.

During the first closed session, His Royal Highness delivered a statement highlighting the importance of the Ummah in directing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) towards inclusive matters and stressing that any new programme in the OIC should continue to strengthen their faith and hopes for the future.

His Royal Highness later attended an official lunch hosted by His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal at the Conference Palace. Earlier, on Tuesday evening, His Royal Highness was received at the King Abdulaziz International Airport by Ambassador Azzam bin Abdulkareem Al-Gain, Undersecretary for Protocol Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia.

His Royal Highness was in Jeddah to attend the 41st Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM).

Speaking at the first closed session, His Royal Highness extended his warmest respects to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and the Government and people of Saudi Arabia for their very kind welcome and most generous hospitality.

His Royal Highness also expressed his appreciation to the Republic of Guinea for all their work since the last meeting and the new Secretary-General, Iyad Ameen Madani, for all the hard work put in preparing for the meeting.

His Royal Highness said: “Nine years ago, our leaders met in Makkah and made a renewed and lasting commitment. It matched a similar one made by the United Nations, after a century of international, national, sectarian and tribal hostility. Theirs was named the Millennium Development Goals. Ours was described as the Ten Year Programme of Action. Both recognised the needs of a special group of people throughout the world.

“The United Nations called them ‘ordinary people’. We call them the ‘Ummah’. And they are in no way ‘ordinary’. They are our inspiration. They direct us towards inclusive matters. Not to those which are divisive.

“They ask us to respond positively to the words of His Majesty King Abdullah during the Summit in 2005, ‘Revival begins with a hope, which turns into an idea and then becomes an objective.’

“So, in discussing any new OIC programme, we see the purpose as very clear. It is to continue strengthening their faith and reviving their hopes.”

In this regard, His Royal Highness said, “We are pleased to see the progress made in the last nine years. We have strong mechanisms in place and our work is now conducted within a solid, professional framework, co-ordinated by a dedicated and efficient Secretariat.

“In working out our next Ten Year Programme, we welcome the ideas that the Secretariat has given us and we look forward to receiving our expert group’s recommendations.

“So I congratulate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the two themes they have offered us here. The first, ‘Exploring Areas of Islamic Cooperation’, invites us to work together in areas where we can directly help the people we represent.

“And the second, ‘Peace in a Changing World’, is listed here as a ‘Special Session’, but I believe it is far more than that.

“It is now more than ever before, our ‘Permanent Session’, always on our agenda and rightly named the ultimate ‘Vision of the OIC’.” - Borneo Bulletin (19 June 2014)