13 July 2004
United Nations, Organization of Islamic Conference Meeting to Explore Ways to Reinvigorate Collaboration
VIENNA, 13 July (UN Information Service) In this time of change, as multilateral organizations, we must be able to deal effectively with the most difficult issues and become more broadly representative of the geopolitical and regional realities, said Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna in a statement today, at the 9th General Meeting of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Mr. Costa, who is also Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, delivered his statement on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the meeting, which was convened at the Vienna International Centre.
Mr. Costa noted that the Secretary-General placed particular emphasis on strengthening and enlarging the areas of cooperation between the United Nations and other international and regional organizations. The goal is to have a network of effective and mutually reinforcing mechanisms on the international and regional level which are complementary to each other. This network, based on the principles of a multilateral approach, compliance with international law and respect for human rights, will help to provide a prompt and flexible response to the challenges we face today on all international levels, he said.
Commenting on the OICs role within the international community, Mr. Costa noted: The OIC can play an important role as a structure that allows cooperation and coordination at the regional level. The OIC has a direct interest in various regional issues and it is this area where its experience and knowledge matter. Referring to Iraq, Mr. Costa emphasized the challenges the state is facing in terms of security, and the importance of open dialogue and consensus-building, leading to a spirit of national unity and reconciliation. In this context, he called for the OICs support in implementing the United Nations mandate in Iraq under Security Council Resolution 1546, on behalf of the United Nations.
Drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian and human rights situation in Sudan, Mr. Costa welcomed the commitments given to the Secretary-General by the Government of the Sudan and noted that Mr. Annan was particularly encouraged by the preparedness of the African Union and the neighbouring countries to seek a speedy political settlement of the conflict in Darfur. On behalf of the Secretary-General, he appealed to the OIC and its members to contribute to this effort.
Referring to the problems of organized crime, corruption, drug abuse (including the link between injecting drug abuse and HIV/AIDS) and terrorism, Mr. Costa pointed out that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is active in almost all Member States of the Islamic Conference, assisting policy makers or law enforcement officials in these areas, as well as building effective legal instruments to fight terrorism. Among the Member States of the OIC, 18 states have become parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 14 parties to the Protocol against Trafficking in persons, 13 parties to the Protocol against the smuggling of migrants, and three parties to the Firearms Protocol. Also, 29 Member States of the OIC have signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The meeting will discuss a wide range of issues in the areas of science, technology, trade, development, agriculture, investment, human resources, assistance to refugees, art, and in the political field. Its objective is to explore the potential for enhancing and energizing cooperation between the two organizations and arriving at proposals. It will conclude on 15 July.
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