2004 News Story

OIC pledges support for Iraq, urges resolution of mideast conflict, and commits to reform

In a statement issued today at the close of a three-day foreign ministers’ meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) pledged to "actively help" Iraq in its transition to sovereignty and democracy. The Declaration also called on the international community to give priority to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict; and committed Islamic countries to work to promote reform and development.

The ‘Istanbul Declaration’ affirmed support for efforts to end the occupation of Iraq, and support for the process of transfer of authority to the Iraqis, stressing that this sovereignty must be complete. It welcomed last week's UN resolution on Iraq endorsing the transfer of sovereignty from the U.S.-led occupation and authorizing a multinational force in that country. The political process, it said, should result in “an elected government that is fully comprehensive and transparent". The OIC declared its readiness to help Iraq actively in the transition process and work to fulfill its needs.

The Declaration also called for priority to be given to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, saying there is no alternative to direct negotiation. The aim is to create a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel in secure and recognized borders. The Declaration condemned terrorism and resolved to renew efforts to fight this scourge. On reform, the Declaration confirmed that the OIC countries are determined to strengthen democratic rule, and freedom and equality among their citizens; provide modern education for new generations; work to develop their economies; and exert efforts to eliminate poverty. It pledged that OIC members will help each other in the efforts of development and reform, “which must emanate from within".

The conference ended with the election of Turkey's Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu as the new OIC Secretary-General.