OIC demands permanent UNSC seat
Secretary-general for real reform in Islamic bloc
SANAA: Foreign ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference opened a meeting here on Tuesday with a call for a Muslim permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged a greater role for Muslim countries in world affairs and demanded a "permanent representation for the Islamic world on the UN Security Council".
"The Islamic world, which represents one-fifth of total mankind, cannot remain excluded from the activities of the Security Council which assumes a fundamental role in keeping security and peace in the world," he said.
Ihsanoglu had announced on Monday that ministers would discuss proposals for the representation of the 57-member Islamic body on the Security Council during their three-day conference in the Yemeni capital.
Ihsanoglu told the conference that his ambitious plans also provided for the introduction of "real reform" in the Islamic blocís internal affairs. "I want to push for real reform in the organisation, not just a superficial one ... to enhance capabilities and improve performance," he said at the opening which was held amid tight security measures and away from the press.
Ihsanoglu became head of the OIC at the start of the year after his election to the top job in June 2004, becoming the first secretary-general in the organisationís 36-year history to be chosen through secret ballot.
The Turkish secretary-general also proposed finding a new name for the organisation that would reflect "its reality".
Ihsanoglu wanted to "revisit the OICís convention and rewrite it in a way that would serve the interests of the (Islamic) nation." He also wanted to reform the OIC in order to "guarantee that its political decisions do not remain wishes".
"The Islamic world is in need of a renaissance ... Development and reform are the real guarantees for the continuity of our nation, and to bridge the gap between us and the advanced world," he said.
Addressing the conference, Pakistanís Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri proposed a six-point response to the challenges.
He said: "The OIC countries should be represented continuously and in proportion to their numbers in an expanded Security Council." Pakistan, he said, had proposed a draft resolution in this regard and added that the question of the expansion of the Security Council should be addressed as a part of the comprehensive reform of the United Nations with consensus and without any artificial deadline.
Kasuri urged the leadership of the OIC to rise to these challenges and called for the organisation to maintain its highly valued support to the Kashmiri people and their just cause and struggle. He expressed deep gratitude to the Islamic countries for their support to Kashmir cause.
"Pakistan believes that the Kashmiri people are the principal party to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. They must be associated with the Pakistan-India peace process for seeking a final and just settlement."
Kasuri said the Commission of Eminent Persons set up by the OIC Summit in Putrajaya on President Pervez Musharraf's proposal had come up with a plan of action. He said it should now be forwarded by the foreign ministers to the Extraordinary Summit of OIC in Makkah by the end of this year to revitalize the OIC. The Islamic countries should also agree to enhance the scientific and technological capabilities of the OIC countries and work for women development issues.
Kasuri said the OIC should be reformed and changes introduced in its charter and name for achieving the above objectives. He said Pakistan was contributing an additional $1 million to the OIC budget.
Kasuri also reiterated Pakistan's strong support for the final settlement of the Palestine issue culminating in a viable independent state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital. Kasuri also called for support of the Muslim world to assist Afghanistan and Iraq in their reconstruction and political development.