Posted September 20th, 2002

Mr. Chairman, Honorable Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Distinguished Secretary-General of the OIC, Ambassadors, Members of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen, Assalam-u-alaikum.

It is indeed a great honor for me to represent Guyana at this Ministerial level meeting of the Islamic Conference.

Mr. Chairman,

It is natural for the international community to strive for the improvement of cooperation, and a climate for peace, and an end to conflict, which are all essential in today's world which is faced with economic, social and political instability. Seeking to foster a culture of peace, based on respect for human rights, tolerance, participation and solidarity, Guyana addresses this body full of hope and perseverance in search of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the regions of conflict.

The destructive terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11 last year have changed drastically the direction of world history. While they have on the one hand caused fear and anxiety to increase, on the other hand they have brought a multitude of governments together in an antiterrorism coalition. It is unfortunate that those terrorist acts, and the resultant safeguards that countries have put in place, have now acted to build fences around many of our countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Guyana fully supports UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), which, in our view, represents a significant advance in the efforts of the international community to eradicate terrorism while, simultaneously, constituting an innovative interpretation of the Charter of the United Nations. At a recent meeting of the Counter Terrorism Committee, Guyana submitted its report on steps taken to implement and give effect to the provisions of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). I wish to reiterate that Guyana remains fully committed to the global fight against terrorism, which continues to represent a grave threat to international peace and security.

The situation in the Middle East in general, and the plight of the Palestinian people in particular, continue to cause my Government great concern. The increase in violence makes any chances for a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seem remote. It is disappointing that little progress has been made over the past year despite efforts by the international community and the United Nations Secretary-General to move the process forward.

Guyana voted in favor of the General Assembly's Special Session resolution on the "Illegal Actions in Israeli Occupied Palestinian Territory," and stands firm in support of the long-suffering people of Palestine. We encourage the international community to take coherent and forceful steps to restoring the political process and assist Israelis and Palestinians to reach a fair and viable agreement. For indeed, lasting peace cannot be achieved by confrontation and reprisals, but by a commitment to diplomacy, negotiation, cooperation and respect for international law. Guyana unequivocally supports the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain their inalienable rights, including their right to return to their homeland and to peacefully exist in an independent state.

As a member of the OIC and the Committee on the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Guyana is prepared to provide the venue and the right atmosphere to encourage a constructive dialogue between leaders of countries of conflict and stand ready to protect the rights of the Palestinian People.

Mr. Chairman,

Considering the growing inequalities in social and economic development the world over, the Government of Guyana again raises, at this meeting, the importance of the establishment of a New Global Human Order. We believe that this Order, aimed at reversing the growing disparities between rich and poor, both among and within countries, offers a viable solution to many of the social and economic ills by which we are all affected.

Guyana's proposal for the establishment of the New Global Human Order has been endorsed in a number of international fora, including the Caribbean Community, the countries of the Non-aligned Movement, and by the Group of 77 in its South Summit Declaration. In November 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 55/48 on the role of the United Nations in promoting a New Global Human order.

In searching for basic well-being, equality, peace and security, the Government of Guyana wishes to humbly invite all members of the OIC to lend their valuable support to the proposal of a New Global Human Order and to its further promotions.

Mr. Chairman,

As a member of CARICOM, Guyana established a commitment to examine specific ways in which the countries in the Caribbean can make a contribution to the work of the international community. With the surge of terrorism, poverty, disease especially HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, illegal traffic and use of drugs, along with the increase of racism and ethnic tensions, there is a necessity, now more than ever before, for a global response and accountability.

There is a disproportionate emphasis on progress in some countries, which propels social, political and economic ramifications. An essential ingredient in our pursuit of transformation into a world of tolerance, security/partnership, and peace is a need for grounded confidence and commitment. At the forefront of conflicts in the world today are innocent civilians, including women and children, in need of immediate help and assurances from the international community. As we stand united today, let us exercise compassion to the intention of our actions.

It should not escape our attention that as developing countries increasingly devote considerable time, resources, and attention to conflicts at the expense of human development, the developed countries are making rapid advancements. A solution must be found that would enable people everywhere to enjoy greater well-being, progress and freedom.

Mr. Chairman,

The importance of an enabling environment for further dialogue aimed at finding permanent solutions to conflicts is equally relevant in regions and countries such as Cyprus, Iraq, Kashmir, Somalia, Sudan and Sierra Leone which face threats to their domestic unity and territorial integrity. We support efforts by the United Nations Secretary-General and the Good Offices Mission to seek a political settlement to these disputes. Once again, we have seen the failure of the threat of or use of force to resolve disputes. We hope that all parties involved will continue to maintain a dialogue and that the differences will be resolved in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. In this regard, Guyana particularly encourages talks between India and Pakistan, given the resumption of hostilities in the Kashmir dispute.

Mr. Chairman,

With regards to the US-Iraq situation, we commend the United States Government for bringing this matter to the consideration of the United Nations. We are particularly pleased that the Government of Iraq has now invited the return of weapons inspectors from the United Nations. We feel that this new development which must be supported by the OIC and all members of the United Nations is a forward step in helping to ease tension and conflict in the region of the Middle East and the Islamic world in general.

The Organization of Islamic Conference will continue to be a strong advocate for peace, equality and justice worldwide. United by our common faith in the teachings of Islam, we, the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference should undertake to rise to our new challenges by working together at strengthening our economies and acting collectively to ensure that the image of our great religion and civilization is not tarnished by recent occurrences. Our strength should lie in our unity, and we should resolve to make a greater effort to end conflict and to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

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