Thursday October 16, 2003 09:02 AM


In the Name of God,

The Most Compassionate,

The Most Merciful.

Praise be to God, and prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of God and all his kin and companions.

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies,

Your Excellency The Secretary-General,

Honourable Audience,

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.

First, I would like to extend gratitude and appreciation to my brother H.E. Datok Seri Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed, the Prime Minister, and to the government as well as the brotherly people of Malaysia for their hospitality and the good preparation and organization of this conference.

I would also like to welcome His Excellency President Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and hail his presence at this conference. No doubt his presence among us as a guest of this conference will have a positive effect on the relations between the Organisation of Islamic conference member states and his friendly country.

I would like also to welcome Her Excellency President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines.

Throughout the past three years, we have worked very hard with you to achieve the greatest possible benefits for our Ummah. Yet, in those years the world witnessed unexpected events, changes and sudden and profound political, economic and security turnings which compelled us to deal with them wisely and rationally to protect the higher interests of our peoples.

These events added burdens on the tasks of the chairmanship, such. as convening an extra-ordinary Islamic Summit and a number of ministerial meetings in Doha to promote joint action to live up to the level of the challenges faced by the Muslim peoples, whether by confronting the war on terrorism, the situation in Iraq, the Palestinian question, furthering and developing the dialogue between the European Union and the OIC countries, the Islamic-Christian dialogue for better coexistence between cultures and consolidation of recognition of their diversity and plurality and confirming the Islamic stance vis-a-vis contemporary issues.

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies,

Honourable Audience,

The decisions made by the Organisation, and its activities during the period of our chairmanship are known to you. They will be presented to you by the Secretary-General in his report. We have given great attention to the execution of those resolutions.

Yet, let us ask whether we have achieved what we have aspired to throughout the years of our chairing the OIC Summit. While I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies for the cooperation we received from you in discharging the responsibilities of chairing the Summit, and the efforts you and the General Secretariat have made, I would like, out of candidness and transparency, to say that we have not realised what we had hoped to, for a number of reasons, some of which are beyond control of the OIC, and others relating to the basic factor without which the organization and the whole Islamic Ummah would not rise; namely real solidarity of its members, and their dealing positively and with credibility with one another as well as with international events.

The success of our joint march depends on our ability to deal with a strategic issue, which is determining the causes of the weakness and neglect of the Islamic Ummah despite the enormous potentials and resources God has bestowed upon it.

This strategic issue, in our view, must be given due attention, since the destiny and future of the Moslem World depend on it. The Muslim World has great potentials which qualify it, if there is a will and determination, to rise among nations.

It is well known that the Islamic Ummah is being targeted today more than at any other time before in its creed, culture and social and political orientation. This negative stance and its bearings in the age of globalization, and advanced technology, requires that we exert greater collective efforts in the cultural and information sphere to acquaint the world with the true essence of Islam and highlight the real image of Islam that advocates justice, tolerance and equality among all human beings.

In my address at the opening of the 9th Summit, I pointed out the importance of focusing on economic development as the proper course to face up to the challenges and threats to the entire Umma. This question is still our main concern. With the widening gap between the North and the South countries, we have to reinforce our cooperation and solidarity, and exert more efforts to promote our own capabilities and knowledge and deal with the others on the basis of reciprocal respect and common interests.

Moreover, concentration on social development in its broad sense of raising the standard of the family, combating poverty, eradicating illiteracy and upgrading education, has become an urgent need for improving the standard of living of the individual. Widening the scope of popular participation will realise the social, economic and political reforms aspired to by the citizens to enable our societies overcome their crises by democratic means.

These are the main aspects which I wanted to stress in the context of the strategic issue. There is no doubt that you, Dear Brothers, have positive views on this issue. Though proud of all that had been possible to achieve along our joint march, we believe that we have not yet exploited all possible spheres of cooperation between our countries and peoples, despite the existence of the several frameworks and organizational bodies necessary for such cooperation. Activation of methods of promoting performance of the General Secretariat and its subsidiary bodies will be a significant and needed step to push our joint cooperation forward.

Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies,

Honourable Audience,

Allow me to take up certain issues that deserve more attention on our part. The situation in Iraq and the challenges and hardship faced by the Iraqi people, which are beyond their capabilities under the present circumstances, require our solidarity with them, and supporting them till they come out of their plight and realise their national hopes and expectations in ruling themselves by themselves in an independent, united Iraq. In this context, we in Qatar, have welcomed the formation of the Iraqi Governing Council and the new cabinet as being a step in the right direction towards formulation of a new constitution and holding free elections that would enable the - brotherly Iraqi people to choose their own representatives and establish their constitutional institutions.

The Palestinian question has been in the forefront of the concerns of the DIC, which has always backed the claims of the Palestinian people in their just struggle to gain their full legitimate rights and establish their independent state on their national soil, with A1-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, under comprehensive and equitable peace based on international legitimacy.

While affirming our rejection of any attempt on the part of the Israeli government not to adhere to the Road Map but to deal only with the security aspect, and its decision to expel H.E. Brother Yasser Arafat, the lawfully elected president of the Palestinian people, in such manner as to terminate the entire peace process, we call upon the international community and the International Quartet to provide international protection for the Palestinian people and enable them to practice their inalienable and legitimate national rights, to stop all that might obstruct efforts to establish peace in accordance with resolutions of international legality and the Road Map, and compel Israel to abide by its commitments and withdraw from the Syrian Golan Heights and the rest of the occupied Lebanese territories.

Terrorism is still one of the gravest challenges facing the world. Our countries have more than once affirmed their rejection of all forms and shapes of terrorism. In this respect, we declare our support of, and backing to all measures taken to put an end to this phenomenon, and our resolve to positively contribute to the international efforts to that end. At the same time, we reject dealing with double standards with this phenomenon, or relating it to any specific religion or culture.

In conclusion, I reiterate my gratitude to Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies for the cooperation I had from you all during my chairmanship of the OIC.

I would like to laud the efforts of H.E. the Secretary-General Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, and his staff, in service of the Organisation and its goals.

I pray to the Almighty to bestow success on our efforts to serve our Islamic Ummah and realise its optimal solidarity for the welfare and prosperity of our peoples.

May the peace, the mercy and blessings of God be upon you.