Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, on Friday, called for greater Islamic unity and solidarity during his address at the 47th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), currently being held from November 27 to 28 at Niamey in the Republic of Niger.
In his statement, Minister Shahid urged all member states to unconditionally reject terrorism in all forms and manifestations. The foreign minister also called for the establishment of a mechanism under which the OIC and the wider international community could cooperate to counteract Islamophobic sentiments affecting the lives of numerous Muslims across the world.
Highlighting that the exacerbated difficulties being faced by the people of Palestine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Shahid reiterated Maldives’ support for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.
He also went on to express Maldives' readiness to cooperate with Gambia to seek justice for the Rohingya people. Foreign minister Shahid and his Gambian counterpart Mamadou Tangara have agreed to enhance cooperation between the legal teams of both countries to strengthen the case filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Regarding the Western Sahara conflict, Minister Shahid urged all involved parties to resolve the issue amicably, reaffirming support for efforts by the United Nations Secretary-General to secure a just and mutually acceptable political solution in line with the principles of the UN Charter.
Furthermore, the foreign minister asserted the importance of gender equality in ensuring a peaceful society and inclusive Islamic Ummah. In this regard, he noted that Maldives had joined the OIC’s Women’s Development Organization in 2019 and participated in the First Ministerial Meeting of the OIC Women’s Development Organization in October. He urged additional member countries to join the organization and support endeavours to achieve gender parity.
During his statement, Minister Shahid also outlined the COVID-19 situation in the Maldives, noting that the unprecedented measures introduced to combat the virus resulted in widespread economic repercussions in addition to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Emphasizing that smaller states within the OIC faced a higher level of vulnerability to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Shahid called for increased concessional financing to aid to support the recovery efforts initiated by such nations. He welcomed the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) which were announced under the Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency.
In addition to delivering the statement, Minister Shahid conducted meetings with several of his counterparts on the sidelines of the OIC meeting, including the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Gambia, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mauritania and Senegal.
Held under the theme 'United against Terrorism for Peace and Development', the OIC meeting was joined by the 57 foreign ministers of the organization's member states to deliberate on the general policy and discuss pressing issues within the Muslim Ummah.
Minister Shahid departed for Niamey on Monday to attend the session and was accompanied by Ambassador of the Maldivian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Maldives' Permanent Representative to the OIC, Mohamed Khaleel, as well as Assistant Director at the foreign ministry Ahmed Salman Zaki.
Maldives became a member of the OIC in 1976, and has since actively participated in the activities and meetings of the Organization. The OIC has 57 Member States, comprising mainly of Muslim majority countries.