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Remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Suriname, H.E. Lygia L.I. Kraag-Keteldijk at the 10th Summit of the OIC Islamic Summit, Dakar, Senegal, March 12 - 14, 2008
14 March 2008 / 05:13

 Remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Suriname, H.E. Lygia L.I. Kraag-Keteldijk at the 10th Summit of the OIC Islamic Summit, Dakar, Senegal, March 12 - 14, 2008.

Your Excellency, President Abdoulaye Wade

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Kings, Presidents,

Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish to begin by congratulating you Mr. President on assuming the Chairmanship of the OIC, and by expressing my highest esteem to His Excellency Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, for his prudent and visionary Chairmanship which concludes at this Summit.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad your personal commitment to frankness, tolerance and the rule of law has been an encouragement to all who strive for growth throughout the Islamic world. 

Let me also take this opportunity to pay homage to Secretary-General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for his dedication in the work of the OIC, in finding effective ways to confront the various challenges facing the Muslim community. 

I feel privileged to participate in this historic Summit on behalf of H. E. President Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan and the People of the Republic of Suriname in the beautiful and hospitable city of Dakar. 

Allow me also to thank the Government and People of Senegal for their generous hospitality and for the superb arrangements made in hosting this Tenth Summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference 

Mr. President, Excellencies, 

The OIC as an organization of states joined in faith is often identified, by its unique ability to draw on all elements of its societies, in promoting peace between its member states, as well as between their communities and the world at large. 

Our countries recognize the special responsibility to foster and promote a spirit of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance of diversity between our Peoples. 

Suriname believes firmly that the basis for peace and progress in our societies and throughout the world should always be through an honest, constructive and respectful dialogue.
The aim must not be to eliminate differences between human beings or civilizations, but to preserve and even celebrate them as a source of joy and strength. That is the world ethic that we are looking for; a framework of shared values within which different traditions can coexist.
Since the last Summit many OIC member-states have strived to set an example to the world in how to manage international relations. This has led to a reduction of tensions and the further development of a spirit of friendship and cooperation. 

For instance, a number of boundary disputes have been amicably resolved by some of us and other are currently being negotiated.
We continue to discuss many outstanding issues among ourselves and are increasingly coming together to address common challenges. 

We are doing so because we recognize that the promise of a new and better future can only be fulfilled through cooperation, and through integration with the new global economy, based on knowledge which can now be shared far more widely and rapidly than ever.
Mr. President, Excellencies, 

Our Peoples are in need for protection of the sometimes bewildering changes that this new global order can bring with it. 

The phenomenon of Islamophobia is not new, but has nowadays become a problem which can no longer be ignored by the rest of the world as merely an Islamic predicament. Islamophobia is not only a deeply personal issue for Muslims all over the world, but also a matter of great concern and importance for anyone concerned about upholding universal values and tolerance among peoples. 

The resentment and sense of injustice felt by members of one of the world’s great religions, Islam, should not be underestimated. It is for that reason that my Government will always express its disapproval and criticizes the scourge of Islamophobia .

Therefore we call for the reestablishment of trust among people of different faiths and cultures to become the highest priority of international cooperation and diplomacy.

Islamophobia remains a challenge for the peaceful coexistence of different values and cultures in the world.

Suriname for its part will consequently continue to support and promote the dialogue among civilizations while remain convinced that a culture of peace and understanding must be significantly enhanced through dialogue at various echelons including the United Nations. This, in order to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among religions, cultures and peoples all over the world.

Suriname is mindful of the fact that increased dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions is the single effective remedy to prevent religious and other conflicts on the national, regional and international level.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

As the principal message embodied in the new OIC Charter states that: “our common belief constitutes a strong factor for rapprochement and solidarity among Islamic People, as well as the preservation of Islamic spiritual, ethical, scientific, economic, social and cultural values.”

The Preamble and the two first articles of the Charter are symbolic of the new commencement of the OIC. By recognizing these significant values and principles, we are re-endorsing our commitment to ensure corporation and solidarity between OIC member states.

By implementing this new Charter we should continue our multilateral commitment, in working together in a transparent manner, striving to reduce mutual uncertainties and doubts, addressing each other with frankness and ushering a new spirit of Islamic solidarity with one another.

Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The various challenges before us are numerous and complex: concern about the erosion of specific rights in some parts of the world, cultural and religious misunderstandings, Islamophobia, International Terrorism, and even fear for someone’s physical safety, are just a few of the current concerns.

We as OIC member states have already established a clear and comprehensive vision, and commitment to meet these daunting challenges, while at the same time seeking to deliver dignity, empowerment en prosperity to our Peoples.

Convinced that the world can become a better place for all, we need to cooperate closer together in order to really make it happen.

In this regard the approval of this new Charter is one important step ahead.

Thank you kindly, Mr. President.