UAE respects sovereignty: Gargash

‘Maintains good neighbourliness policy’

The UAE is absolutely committed to the principles of respecting sovereignty of states and their territorial integrity and adopting a policy of good neighbourliness, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs told the preparatory meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey.

The ministers are to hammer out agenda of the 14-15 April OIC Summit Conference.

Dr Gargash said the 13th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference is being convened amidst very critical and delicate circumstances the Islamic World is passing through.

''Extremism, terrorism and sectarianism have become the scourge that threaten to undermine the national structure of the state, tear apart the social fabric, communal harmony, and pose a risk to national and regional security as well as international peace and security,'' he noted.

Firmly recognising the important role that thought can play in correcting the misconception of linking violence to Islam, the UAE has established the Hedaya Center for countering violent extremism, hosted the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies under the leadership of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, and has launched, in partnership with the United States, the Sawab Center to harness the social media networking sites to refute malicious propaganda of terrorist organisations, notably Daesh, and respond to its mischievous fatwas, and to correct misconceptions they try to spread.

''With their geographic extension and cultural diversity, the OIC member states are in a desperate need to emphasise on these principles to establish normal ties between them. Building on this belief, the UAE is absolutely committed to the principles of respecting sovereignty of states and their territorial integrity and adopting a policy of good neighbourliness,'' the UAE minister added.

''On the other hand, we confirm our categorical rejection of interference into the internal affairs of other states, particularly if that intervention could stir up sectarian strife and trigger troubles and sedition among citizens. We also call on all member states to pursue a policy that respects international law, abandons illusions of hegemony, stops support for armed militias and tampering with components of the nation state,'' he said.

Following is the full text of Gargash's speech:

Mr. President,

The 13th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference which is taking place in Istanbul, Turkey, is being convened amidst very critical and delicate circumstances the Islamic World is passing through.

Extremism, terrorism and sectarianism have become the scourge that threaten to undermine the national structure of the state, tear apart the social fabric, communal harmony, and pose a risk to national and regional security as well as international peace and security.

Reading this reality and out of the desire to address and confront these threats, the UAE believes the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has a core role to play in the following matters:

First, the prevailing fears by some Islamic countries and Muslims which gave rise to Islamophobia requires the OIC to exert relentless efforts to correct the negative mind-set about our tolerant religion and promote its essence of centrism and tolerance. It needs a collective comprehensive cultural, intellectual and media strategy which engages both scholars and religious institutions to correct misconceptions about Islam by renewal of the religious rhetoric, promotion of Islam's core values of tolerance and peace and rejection of extremism and violence.

Firmly recognising the important role that thought can play in correcting the misconception of linking violence to Islam, the UAE has established the Hedaya Center for countering violent extremism, hosted the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies under the leadership of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, and has launched, in partnership with the United States, the Sawab Center to harness the social media networking sites to refute malicious propaganda of terrorist organisations, notably Daesh, and respond to its mischievous fatwas, and to correct misconceptions they try to spread.

Second, the OIC member states maintain wide diversity in the structure of their people socially, culturally and humanitarianly but there is a common factor  which is to adhere to the goals of Islam and its values of centrism, moderation, tolerance and acceptance of the other which together represent the foundations of Islamic civilisation. This is what urges us to call on the OIC to work diligently to co-ordinate stances and policies so as to address delicate, perilous challenges and circumstances our Islamic World is experiencing including the increasingly dangerous phenomena of terrorism and violence which don the cloak of Islam.

Though a majority of victims of terrorism are Muslims, the stereotype that some people have by one way or another is the link between Islam and violence. Therefore, we expect the OIC to urge its member states to take decisive action against all forms of terrorism, regardless of their motivation, track down perpetrators, dry up financial sources of terrorism, and adopt national and international mechanisms to reach these goals. To do this, the OIC should have an effective framework to ensure the minimum level of concerted policies among its member states so as to speak with one voice at international gatherings.

Third, to arrive at these objectives, member states should set aside their differences that arose from divergent political opinions towards some issues and files, and they are urged to rise above these disagreements to replace divergence with convergence, and agree to a joint strategy for development and enlightenment of the Islamic peoples in the social, economic and cultural fields.

As a pool of the Islamic World, the OIC should honestly reflect the constructive role of Islam in establishing collaborative ties with other states in general and between member states in particular. It needs to have a convincing, true rhetoric that respects diversity without compromising national sovereignty of individual states, guided by the words of Allah! ''O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other.''

Fourth, you are well aware of the firm principles of international relations that were laid down by the international law which call for respecting regional sovereignty of states and non-interference into the internal affairs of other states. Commitment to these principles is a sure guarantee to realise security and stability in inter-state relations.

With their geographic extension and cultural diversity, the OIC member states are in a desperate need to emphasise on these principles to establish normal ties between them. Building on this belief, the UAE is absolutely committed to the principles of respecting sovereignty of states and their territorial integrity and adopting a policy of good neighbourliness.

On the other hand, we confirm our categorical rejection of interference into the internal affairs of other states, particularly if that intervention could stir up sectarian strife and trigger troubles and sedition among citizens. We also call on all member states to pursue a policy that respects international law, abandons illusions of hegemony, stops support for armed militias and tampering with components of the nation state.

Fifth, being a staunch advocate of the rule of law and of peaceful settlement of international disputes, the UAE - from this platform, calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to positively respond to the repeated initiatives by the UAE to reach a peaceful solution that ends the Iranian occupation of its three islands - Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa - either through direct negotiations or recourse the issue to the international arbitration in line with the United Nations Charter and principle of international law. Solving this long dispute will contribute to building confidence measures, promote the policy of good neighbourliness on a historic stage that requires solidity and realisation of mutual interest conducive to stability in our region, which was rocked by troubles.

Mr. President, the situation in Yemen requires hard and continuous work to enable the legitimate Yemeni government to complete the transitional process, and to transit the fraternal people of Yemen to safety through international resolutions based on the Gulf initiative and the outcome of the Yemeni National Dialogue as well as work to rebuild Yemen after easing the crisis and the end of the war.

In order to reach this goal, we have to emphasise the fact that we should support the constitutional legitimacy in Yemen and to reject any intervention in its internal affairs. It also stresses the importance of working to support the UN special envoy's efforts to find a political settlement to the Yemeni crisis which bring together all components of the Yemeni people and to alleviate their suffering as well as work to build the country's institutions.

Mr. President,

Reaching a peaceful settlement in the Middle East is vital to address the tensions in the region and that achieving peace requires Israel's withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian and Arab lands since 1967, and to enable the Palestinian people to establish their independent state on the borders of June 1967 with its capital in East Jerusalem.

The UAE, as it supports a peaceful settlement based on resolutions of the international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, also backs the efforts of the Palestinian National Authority and calls for supporting it to receive full membership in the international organisations and conventions.

The Israeli actions threatening Al-Aqsa Mosque will only feed violence and extremism in the region and fuel factors of Middle East conflict and we, as Muslim countries, are asked more than ever to work hard to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian citizens in Jerusalem and support them to resist the Israeli Judaisation policy.

Mr. President,

We call for concerted efforts to put an end to the serious and worsening tragedy suffered by the fraternal Syrian people as a result of the continuation of murder and violence, without any political horizon, and to get out of this extended crisis.

We are here to support a political solution in Syria based on Geneva 1 Conference on Syria regarding the Syrian crises and to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people to form a transitional authority with full powers which manages the transition of power to end the cycle of killing, violence, destruction, paves the way for a comprehensive national process to building Syria and to absorb all its national components as well as to fight terrorism, Daesh, extremism and sectarianism.

In order to address the dire humanitarian crisis suffered by the Syrian people, the UAE is discharging its duties through continued relief operations for the Syrian people to meet their humanitarian needs. It also calls for increasing international and regional efforts to provide the needed resources in addition to supporting the efforts of Syria's neighbouring countries to accommodate refugees and work to reach the displaced people inside Syria, including those living across the borders to alleviate their suffering and, at the same time, press to implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions to face the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Mr. President,

The UAE confirms the need to respect the unity and territorial sovereignty of Libya and to preserve its political independence and commitment to a comprehensive dialogue between anti-violence and extremist political forces.

On this occasion, the UAE welcomes the arrival of the head of the appointed Government of National Accord and the Presidential Council to Tripoli, the capital of Libya, and sees this as a positive step towards reaching a political solution to the Libyan crisis within the framework of the political agreement signed in Skhirat. The country also stresses the need to vote for the House of Representatives of the Government of National Accord in accordance with the provisions of the constitution as it is deemed the legislative authority. It also sees this as an essential issue to promote the political process and its success.

Mr. President,

The suffering witnessed by Rohingya refugees is a matter of serious concern and we call on all member states and the international community to take all necessary steps to deal with the terrible humanitarian situation they are exposed to.

Mr. President,

We hope that the Organisation of Islamic Countries, OIC, will be a platform through which we can reflect the role of Islam and the Islamic countries in establishing strong international relations based on communication with the world, and address the world through it in order to refute the fabrications of extremism and terrorism, while translating the fact of its moderation, values and message. All this within a framework of respect for the privacy of each country and respect for its sovereignty. Perhaps the Istanbul Summit will be the beginning of the path toward this trend.

In the end, we are very confident that your chairmanship of this summit will provide a new momentum and a strong support to enable the organisation to provide assistance for the member states and Muslim communities to address the challenges and accomplish achievements, and we wish luck and success for our agenda.

 

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