Thursday October 16, 2003 09:02 AM



Your Excellency

Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed

Prime Minister of Malaysia;

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies the Heads of State and Government;

Your Excellency

Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz

Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference;

Honorable Ministers and Heads of Delegations;

Distinguished Delegates and Dear Guests;

Allow me to begin by expressing our gratitude to the People and the Government of Malaysia for the warm welcome and excellent hospitality accorded to us since our arrival.

I bring greetings from the Mozambican people to the Malaysian people. In my capacity as current chairman of the African Union I equally salute you and the Islamic Community on behalf of the peoples of Africa.

I would like to join previous speakers in congratulating You, Mr. Prime Minister and Dear friend, on your unanimous election to chair the 10th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference. We have no doubt that with your experience, wisdom and proven skills our deliberations will be successful and will contribute to reinforce the role of the OIC.

I have had the opportunity of expressing our appreciation to your valuable efforts in promoting and consolidating greater involvement of the Islamic World in the development of Africa. On this occasion, I wish to reiterate our admiration for your outstanding contribution to the dignification of the Ummah.

I would also like to pay a special tribute to His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa AI-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, for the brilliant manner in which he chaired the Islamic Summit Conference in the last three years. We deeply appreciate his endeavours aimed at bringing a new dimension to peace and development in the Islamic world.

I wish to commend the leadership role of our dear brother, Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, the Secretary General of the OIC for his relentless efforts in the quest for the realization of our Organization's main purposes.

Mr. Chairman,

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies,

The theme of the 10th Islamic Summit "KNOWLEDGE AND MORALITY AND UNITY AND DIGNITY FOR THE PROGRESS OF THE UMMAH" is pertinent. These are fundamental assets that the Ummah needs in order to face the challenges of globalization. Progress of our nations and of the Ummah in general, can only be achieved through self-emancipation, peaceful coexistence and greater access to education for all.

These endeavours should focus on poverty alleviation and the fight against endemic diseases, especially HIV-AIDS, particularly in OIC least developed member states.

Morality, in our view, encompasses also multi-faceted assistance to the poorest, for that is one of the main pillars of this great religion. The combination of morality and knowledge is a safe and sound approach to put forward the high interests of humanity, thus allowing it to prevail and push forward for the progress of the Ummah.

It is my view that a new approach needs to be adopted in order for us to reveal the real magnitude of this great religion and correct the distorted view of Islam that tends to be spread out nowadays. This is the approach to be adopted if we are to reduce the risk of a clash of civilizations that we seem to be witnessing today.

Only by presenting Islam as a living and dynamic civilization we can successfully meet the emerging challenges that confront us today.

It is incumbent upon our Organization to co-ordinate all efforts aimed at the advancement of the Ummah. Our Organization needs to undergo a process of restructuring and reform.

I would like, therefore, to concur with the view expressed by President Musharraf, on the formation of an OIC Summit-level Committee to devise strategies and an action plan for the future of our Organization.

We should not miss this golden opportunity to jointly reflect on the role that our Organization should play at this critical juncture in the history of our countries.

We must build upon the work done by the 27th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers that launched the reform process. We should deliberate on issues of substance that, thereafter, will instill more dynamism to the work of our Organization and make it a more cost effective institution.

While appreciating the achievements made thus far in the promotion of Islamic solidarity and co-operation by the OIC, we deem it important to endow it with the resources that can allow for a better and proficient response to future challenges. We need to strengthen the Organization's role in forging unity, dignity and progress of the Ummah.

It is my view that our Organization should use its tremendous power and resources to further promote peace and economic cooperation. In effect, peace and stronger multi-faceted ties are fundamental to the attainment of the goals set forth in the Millennium Declaration, particularly with respect to poverty alleviation and to the irreversible and sustainable progress of the Ummah.

Mr. Chairman,

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies,

Without peace and stability there can be no progress. What we are witnessing in the Middle East can only contribute to endanger the progress of the Ummah. The escalation of violence in the Palestinian and Arab territories and the Israel attack against Syria represent a serious threat to peace and security in the Middle East.

It is against this background that we urge Israel to live up to the commitments already undertaken. We particularly appeal to Israel to implement without delay, the measures provided for in the Road Map towards the establishment of the Palestinian State in 2005. We are mostly concerned with the ongoing construction of the Wall that violates the lines of 4 June 1967, as well as the prolonged blockade of the autonomous Palestinian cities.

During the II Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU), held in Maputo last July, the Heads of State and Government of the AU expressed their support to the Road Map. It is our view that, if implemented, the Road Map could be a good starting point for impending developments in the peace process.

We commend the Palestinian National Assembly for having accepted the Road Map and for the formation of a new Government. These are, indeed, signs of its commitment to a peaceful engagement with Israel. We encourage the Palestinian National Authority to continue on this track.

It is our firm belief that foreign forces in Iraq must have a mandate with a clear timeframe, after which the Iraqi people must be allowed the opportunity to exercise, freely, their sovereignty. This could, undoubtedly, contribute to the restoration of peace in Iraq and in the region.

Mr. Chairman,

In the very recent past the world has experienced the horrors of terrorism. We strongly condemn it, and we underline, once again, the urgent need for us to put in place internal, regional and international mechanisms for a coordinated approach in the fight against terrorism, under the auspices of the United Nations. We strongly believe that the root causes of terrorism are not and should not be found in any religion. We need to work collectively to identify the root causes of terrorism.

Mr. Chairman,

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies,

Mozambique stands, as a matter of principle, in favour of peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts. As a peace-loving nation, we reiterate our hope to see the conflicts affecting other OIC members states resolved as soon as possible.

We would like to seize this opportunity to commend the positive developments obtained in the OIC members States of the Comoros, the Sudan and Sierra Leone, while earnestly expecting the consolidation of positive steps taken thus far in the conflicts in Cote D'Ivoire and Somalia.

The prevailing peace in Mozambique enables us to enjoy socioeconomic development. The country has been experiencing considerable economic growth, reaching 7,7% last year. In fact, even after the floods of 2000 and 2001, the economy was able to recover and grow.

The restoration of peace and the adoption of sound macro-economic policies have created in Mozambique an enabling environment for domestic and foreign investment, particularly in the fields of industry and tourism.

These investments have lent substantial contribution to the economy, particularly by generating direct and indirect employment, thus playing a vital role in our poverty reduction efforts.

It is in this context that I take this opportunity to convey our most profound gratitude for the valuable assistance that the OIC member States and institutions have rendered to our country within the framework of the resolution on economic assistance to Mozambique.

We wish to avail ourselves of this opportunity to commend the Islamic Development Bank for its significant participation in investment in Mozambique for the implementation of our Plan of Action for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA).

Mr. Chairman,

The 2nd Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union focused its attention on the implementation of NEPAD.

In this context, we welcome the OIC initiative launched in Bamako aimed at supporting the development of Africa through NEPAD.

We would like to see more OIC member states participating in, the implementation of NEPAD within the spirit of South-South and Afro-Arab cooperation.

We need to identify programs of common interest in NEPAD `s priority areas of agriculture, human development with focus on health, education, science and technology, including information and communication technology, water and sanitation, energy, transport, infrastructure, industry, tourism and environment.

We require resources for projects in these areas in order to effectively reduce unemployment and create conditions for social, economic and cultural development.

The prosperity of Africa will contribute towards the strengthening of all the nations of OIC and the Ummah. Dignity will only be complete if it is dignity for all countries and peoples.

The partnership we seek through NEPAD goes beyond states to involve the private sector and the civil society at large. We, therefore, encourage the business community and civil society organizations and other entities to take a more active role.

One of the fundamental pre-requisites for the success of NEPAD is trade and access to markets. Despite the failure of Cancun, we need to continue to strengthen our collaboration and coordination in the World Trade Organization in order to overcome existing obstacles.

Information and communication technology is vital to generate progress in all areas of development, especially human development. We are happy to note that our organization is positioning itself to build information societies in Islamic countries as a basis for development.

Mr. Chairman,

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies,

Dear guests,

In a few days, we will be entering the holy month of Ramadan. This is a fortunate opportunity to reflect on the problems hampering human progress, particularly social instability and poverty. So let us not miss this golden chance to consider the adoption of measures that will help mitigate the effects of these problems in the Islamic world.

On this particular occasion, I conclude my remarks extending to Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies and, through you Mr. Chairperson, to all the Muslim Ummah, my best wishes for a RAMADAN MUBARAK!

I thank you for your kind attention.

Putrajaya, October, 2003