Sierra Leone Joins 56 Countries at OIC Conference in Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone joined over 50 Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Preparatory to the Thirty- Ninth Session of the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 9 -11th September, 2012.
The meeting unanimously elected the Ambassador of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Dyaeddine Said Bamakrama as the Chairman of the SOM. Other members of the bureau included, Republic of Afghanistan, Gabon and the State of Palestine as Vice – Chairmen and Republic of Kazakhstan as Rapporteur.
A wide range of issues were discussed by the meeting, including the Cause of Palestine and the Middle East; Political Affairs; Organic and General Matters; Legal Affairs; Conditions of Muslim Minorities and Communities in non-OIC Member States; Information Affairs; Administrative and Financial Affairs; and Humanitarian Affairs. The aforementioned agenda is expected to be adopted by the ICFM session scheduled to be held on 15-17th November 2012 in Djibouti.
In his address, Secretary General of the OIC, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu referred to the developments in Syria as a cause for deep concern due to the continued deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in that Middle Eastern country and the growing violence in which thousands of innocent civilians have been killed and tens of thousands injured and displaced. The OIC, he said, welcomes the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the situation in Syria adopted on 3rd August 2012, which condemned the continued widespread and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities, the use of excessive force against civilians, random assassinations, killing and oppression.
In the West African State of Mali and the Sahel region, Professor Ihsanoglu said the two have become a major source of concern to the OIC due to its impacts on the peace and stability of the West African region. He therefore urged all Member States to provide urgent assistance to ease the humanitarian crisis in Mali and the Sahel. The crisis in that part of the region, he continued, was at the top of the agenda of the Fourth Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference held in the holy land of Mecca a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, head of Sierra Leone’s delegation to the meeting, Mr. Ibrahim S. Yilla, Minister Counsellor at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh accompanied by the Information Attaché, M.B. Jalloh informed the meeting about the outbreak of Cholera in his country and he therefore appealed to Member States of the OIC and the International Community at large to come to the rescue of his country at this hour of urgent need.
In line with President Koroma’s Agenda for Change, Mr. Yilla also appealed for the reactivation of the Sierra Leone Trust Fund, which he said, will help to achieve some of the objectives outlined in that agenda. He also requested on behalf of his delegation for another Donor’s Conference on Sierra Leone in order to continue with the socio-economic recovery of his country. It would be recalled that a Donor’s Conference on Sierra Leone was held at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah on 18th January 2003. Although the total amount donated was minimal, yet it contributed to the rehabilitation of essential projects in key areas in Sierra Leone.
The Minister Counsellor informed the session about the country’s Presidential, Legislative and Local Council elections scheduled for November 2012. He assured that government has put necessary measures in place to ensure free, fair and transparent elections and invited the OIC and Member States to send observers for the elections through diplomatic channel.
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