The Organization of the Islamic Conference
2004/05/17

The first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers was held in March, 1970. It decided to set up the Organization of the Islamic Conference (the OIC), which was formally founded in May.

The primary goals of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are to promote solidarity among all member states; to consolidate cooperation among member states in economic, social, cultural, scientific, and other fields of activity; to endeavor to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination and to oppose colonialism in all its forms; to support the Palestinian people in their struggle to regain their national rights and to return to their homeland; and, to support all Muslim people in their struggle to safeguard their dignity, independence and national rights.

There are altogether 55 member states (1999):

Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, Bahrain, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Cameroon, Qatar, Comoro, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Bangladesh, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Zanzibar, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkey, Brunei, Uganda, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Jordan, Chad, Turkmenistan, Mozambique, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Suriname.

Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz (Moroccan) was elected during the 27th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in June, 2000 for a term of 4 years.

The Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference system includes:

i) Summit Conference: the highest policy-making organ, held every three years.

ii) The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers: held once in one member country every year.

iii) Permanent Secretariat.

In addition, there is Islamic Development Bank, Jerusalem Committee, Afghanistan Committee, Islamic Peace Committee, Islamic Court of Justice, Islamic Solidarity Fund, and Islamic Economy and Trade Permanent Committee, etc.

From 1969, when the Organization of the Islamic Conference was not yet founded, to 1997, eight Islamic Summit Conferences had been convened, respectively in Rabat, Morocco, from September 22nd to 25th, 1969; in Lahore, Pakistan, from February 22nd to 24th, 1974; in Mecca and Ta'if, Saudi Arabia, from January 25th to 29th, 1981; in Casablanca, Morocco, from January 16th to 19th, 1984; in Kuwait City from January 26th to 29th, 1987; in Dakar, Senegal, from December 9th to 11th, 1991; in Casablanca, Morocco, from December 13th to 15th, 1994; and in Iran's capital Tehran from December 9th to 15th, 1997. Delegations from 53 member states were sent to attend the 8th Summit Conference of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, among which heads of states and governments of nearly 30 countries were present. The conference adopted " Tehran Declaration", "Summit Conference Statement", and " Final Communiqué", all three with the theme of dignity, dialogue and participation, and also 140 solutions regarding political, economic, social and cultural affairs.

The 9th Summit Conference was held in Qatar's capital Doha from Nov. 12 to 14, 2000. There were over 4000 participants including heads of states governments, on their representations from 55 member states, the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary General of the Islamic Conference, the Secretary-Generals of the Arab League and OAU, 4 observers and representatives of the Islamic Organizations. Taking as the theme “Peace and Development “Alaqsa Intifada”, the Conference had a wide-ranging discussion and consultation on issues and challenges faced by Islamic countries in the political, economic, social and cultural fields, the Palestine-Israel conflict, the present situation in Palestine, the Iraq question, the strengthening of solidarity among the Islamic countries and removing differences. Some consensus were reached on these questions. The next Summit Meeting would be held in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur in 2003.

On March 23rd, 1997, the Organization of the Islamic Conference convened the first Special Summit Conference in Pakistan's capital Islamabad. The conference held discussions on the various problems confronting the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the 21st century, and also issued a statement on the present Jerusalem issue and disputes between India and Pakistan.

Up to June 2000, the Organization of the Islamic Conference had altogether convened 27 Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers and 7 Special Conferences of Foreign Ministers.

The 25th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers was held in Qatar's capital Doha on Mar.15-17,1998. Foreign Ministers or representatives of 53 countries out of 55 member states attended the conference. Secretary-General of the Arab League and the Council for Gulf Cooperation, Secretary-General of the UN, representatives of Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of African Unity were present. The theme of the conference was " for a better tomorrow of the Islamic nation". The conference held discussions on the Middle East peace process, Iraq's arms inspection crisis, the Afghanistan issue and the OIC structure and its financial reform, and also adopted the "Doha Declaration".

The 26th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Burkina Faso. Foreign Ministers from 52 member states and 4 countries with observer states took part in the Meeting. Under the general theme “ peace and development partners”, the meeting divided itself into 4 committees which reviewed and adopted over 100 items and resolutions with a final joint communique.

The 27th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Islamic Countries was convened in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur from June 27 to 30, 2000. Over 1000 representatives from 56 member states of the Islamic Conference Organization, 4 observer states and international organizations took part in the meeting, the theme of which was “Islam and Globalization”. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahatir made a key-note speech at the opening ceremony. The meeting elected Morocco’s Abdelouaded Belkeziz as the new Secretary-General. It adopted a draft final declaration and a number of draft resolutions which included such hot spot issues as Palestine, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Chechnya and international questions of general concern such as the reform of UN and proliferation of unclear weapons.

The 7th Special Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers was held in Islamabad, Pakistan, from September 7th to 9th, 1994. Foreign Ministers or representatives of 48 Islamic countries attended the conference. The conference was called at the proposal of Pakistan, the main topics of which included issues of Kashmir, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Palestine, Azerbaijan and UN's sanctions on Libya, etc. The conference issued the "Islamabad Declaration" and also adopted relevant resolutions.

June 15-17, 1999, representatives from 49 OIC member states held a meeting in Tehran, declaring the establishment of the Parliamentary Union of OIC Members with its headquarters in Tehran.

China had contact with the Organization of the Islamic Conference long ago and has been on friendly terms with it ever since. During the 2nd Islamic Summit Conference held in February 1974, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai sent a message of congratulation to the conference. When the 3rd Islamic Summit Conference was held in January 1981, Premier Zhao Ziyang sent a congratulatory telegram to the conference. In May 1986, the Islamic Development Bank decided to present 4.06 million US dollars to China. During the 5th and 6th Summit Conference held respectively in January 1987 and December 1991, Premier Li Peng sent telegrams of congratulations to both conferences. In February, 1993, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Hamid Al Gabid sent a letter to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, expounding on the stand of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the Bosnia and Herzegovina issue. In March 1993, President of Senegal and Executive Chairman of the OIC Abdou Diouf sent a letter to Chinese President Yang Shangkun, expounding on the stand of the OIC regarding Israel's banishment of Palestinians and seeking China's support. In August 1993, a delegation at the ministerial level of the OIC led by Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdu'l Sattar visited China, setting forth the Islamic countries' position on the Bosnia and Herzegovina issue. In December 1993, President of Senegal and Executive Chairman of the OIC Abdou Diouf sent a telegram to Chinese President Jiang Zemin regarding the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He condemned the Bosnia Serbs and appealed to China to exert the influence of a big nation and use the personal prestige of President Jiang to urge the Serbia leaders to strictly abide by the international law and the UN resolutions. In November 1994, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Muhammad headed a delegation to visit China at the invitation of the Chinese Islamic Association. They exchanged views with the Chinese side regarding such questions as promoting mutual understanding and developing bilateral relations, and also forwarded Secretary-General Gabid's letter to Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen. In April 1995, Deputy Secretary-General of the OIC Muhammad met with Head of the Chinese Mecca Pilgrimage Group and Vice Chairman of Chinese Islamic Association Ma Xian. In July, a delegation of the OIC made up of General Director of the Multi-lateral Cooperation Department in the Foreign Ministry of Morocco Ben Hima, Pakistan's ambassador to Turkey Haq, and the OIC's representative to Morocco Muta visited China and expounded on the Islamic countries' position on the Bosnia and Herzegovina issue. China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo received the delegation. In February 1997, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Laraki sent a telegram to President Jiang Zemin, extending his condolences on the death of Deng Xiaoping. In December 1997, Premier Li Peng sent a telegram to the Organization of the Islamic Conference congratulating the convening of the 8th Summit Conference of the OIC. In January 1998, Iranian President Khatami sent a letter to Premier Li Peng in the name of Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, expressing thanks for the Chinese government's telegram of congratulations. On Nov. 10, 2000, Premier Zhu Rongji sent a message of congratulations on the occasion of the convocation of the 9th Summit Meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

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