Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali, MP is leading the Bangladesh delegation to the 44th Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of OIC in Abidjan which was inaugurated by Cote d’Ivoirian President Alassane Ouatara on 10 July 2017. Foreign Ministers of a large number of Member States and Representatives of observer states, various OIC institutions and international organizations attended the Council. The meeting chaired by the Cote d’Ivoirian Foreign Minister Marcel Amon Tanoh as the chairmanship of 43rd CFM passed on to the African country from Uzbekistan.
Among a number of important resolutions and decisions the OIC Abidjan Conference adopted, to the success of Foreign Minister Ali’s delegation, the decision in favour of Bangladesh to host the 45th CFM in Dhaka in 2018. Bangladesh proposal to host this high profile Conference after nearly three decades and a half received a full support from member states. This came as the recognition of Bangladesh’s active and constructive role and growing importance in the OIC. Bangladesh will get the honour and opportunity of highlighting its success stories in a number of areas which the country is willing to share with OIC member states in the Ummah’s benefits. Foreign Minister Ali thanked member states for giving this honour to the people of Bangladesh and reposing confidence in the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. With this, Bangladesh has become a part of the OIC Troika and an influential member of the important 8 member OIC Executive Committee for the next three years.
The theme chosen for this year’s Council was ‘Youth, Peace and Development in a World of Solidarity’ and the Abidjan CFM stressed the importance of peace, development and Islamic solidarity with greater participation and role of the youth, who constitute the majority of the Muslim Ummah, in addressing the challenges facing the Ummahin these trying times such as internal conflicts, fratricidal civil wars, factional and sectarian feuds, instability and tension across a large part of the Islamic world, terrorism and violent extremism, Islamophobia, humanitarian crises, regressions and ills of Muslim societies including problems of poverty and underdevelopment. The problem of Palestine also remained at the centre of issues dealt with in the CFM. Foreign Minister Ali made a statement in the Council meeting wherein he underscored the need for solidarity and unity of the Islamic world and for leaving differences behind. He underscored the need for making use of abundant resources of the Islamic world and pursue a course of faster development as development solves many problems. He suggested greater intra-OIC trade and investment and made a call for implementing preferential trade and FTAs towards reaching the ultimate goal of an Islamic Common market, the idea that Bangladesh mooted years ago. Referring to ills and reasons for Muslim backwardness, he suggested full participation of the Muslims especially the youth in human endeavours and advancement using the youth’s greater ability and talent to adapt with the fast transforming world and emphasised on a life of enlightenment, scientific enquiry, technology and innovation to bring positive change in our societies. The Foreign Minister also underlined the importance of sharing each other’s best practices and expressed Bangladesh’s readiness to share its success stories in the areas of development and poverty alleviation, inter-faith harmony, peace keeping and peace building, women’s empowerment, containing terrorism and radicalization, health and education. While speaking of better ways of dealing with terrorism and Islamophobia through counter-terrorism he emphasised on better counter-narratives and appreciated the role of Bangladesh’s religious leaders citing the example of Bangladesh Jamiyatul Ulama’s anti-militancy fatwa of peace. He suggested interfaith dialogue and criminalization of incitement to religious hatred for the problem of Islamophobia. The Foreign Minister spoke for the solution of the Palestine problem. He also reminded the Council of the need for restoring the rights of the Rakhine Muslims and their return and repatriation to their homeland- Rakhine state of Myanmar.
Foreign Minister Ali has also made intervention this morning in the brainstorming session on the theme of Abidjan CFM. He made his valuable points and suggestions as to how the OIC member states should invest in the youth to gain to reap benefits of peace and development for the Ummah. He also suggested undertaking of bold collective initiatives and joint projects under the newly taken up OIC second ten year development plan called OIC 2025 Programme of Action.
On the first day of the Council, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Akylbek Kamaldinov called on Foreign Minister Ali in the sidelines of the meeting. Also, The Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Turkey met briefly in the sidelines of the Conference. Maldivian Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Asim met the Foreign Minister today. The Ministers exchanged greetings and discussed matters of mutual interest in these meetings.
The Foreign Minister’s delegation includes Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and PR to OIC Mr. Golam Moshi as well as officers from the Foreign Ministry and Bangladesh Mission in Riyadh.