By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia :
Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reiterated the importance of unity among Muslims all over the world.
He made the remarks at the just concluded Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting held at the Conference Palace in Jeddah, under the Chairmanship of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Abdul -Aziz.
Ambassador Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo represented Dr. Samura M. W. Kamara, Sierra Leone’s Foreign and International Cooperation Minister in the two-day event themed: “Exploring Areas of Islamic Cooperation.”
In his opening remarks, the Ambassador conveyed His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s felicitations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, his Government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting the 41st Session of the CFM as well as for the excellent arrangements made by the Saudi Government in holding the conference and the generous hospitality accorded to the Sierra Leone delegation.
The envoy described the Saudi King as a leader of peace and development, adding that, the King’s statesmanship, leadership qualities, and his vision have earned him global respect and have catapulted Saudi Arabia into the top ranks of nations.
Ambassador Kargbo also extended appreciation to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its efforts in convening the conference under the wise and dynamic leadership of its Secretary General, Dr. Iyad Madani.
The envoy further stressed to the august body the need to find a common approach to solve conflicts within the Muslim world, emphasizing the need to work together in exploring greater economic cooperation among the OIC Member States. According to Kargbo, the Islamic community needs to resolve the fundamental problems related to sustaining peace, progress and satisfying the needs of ordinary people.
The envoy also shared his opinion about intolerance, xenophobia and Islamphobia and said that the alarming increase in the number of such acts have serious implications on international peace and security. In this regard, he stressed that Member States should condemn all sorts of incitement, hatred and religious discrimination against Muslims and people of other faiths.
Islam, Kargbo pointed out, is a peaceful religion and should be seen as a unifying force to advance the wishes of its followers in terms of religious tolerance so as to maintain the doctrines of Islam as perceived by the Holy Prophet Mohamed (Peace and blessing be upon him).
The Ambassador also commended the OIC for the remarkable progress it has made during the last nine years in implementing the 10 year strategic action plan of the organization. “Humanitarian offices have been opened in many countries and we have seen economic growth and increased trade in some Member States,” Kargbo concluded.
Participants discussed regional and international developments, including the Palestinian issue and they condemned the ongoing Israeli settlement operations. They also discussed the Syrian crisis and the escalating development in Iraq. The final declaration of the OIC meeting did not specifically mention any country, but called on all Islamic countries to unite against sectarian politics. The declaration also said that sectarian policies in some member states have endangered peace, stability and the sovereignty of many states and are not easy to overcome.
The OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meets once a year, to review the general policy of the organization and, to review progress on the implementation of the decisions and resolutions adopted at the previous summits and Councils of Foreign Ministers. The decisions of the CFM are implemented by the General Secretariat of the organization.
In another engagement, Ambassador Kargbo met with the Kazakhstan Deputy Foreign Minister, Yerzhan Ashik Bayer on the sidelines of the meeting. The two diplomats discussed means to boost bilateral ties between the two sister countries as well as issues of common interest.
Some of the attendees included, the President of the State of Palestine, H.E Mahmoud Abbas, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Current Session, His Royal Highness, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the OIC Secretary General, Dr. Iyad bin Amin Madani, among other high-profile dignitaries.
The 57-member grouping is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations. Sierra Leone became a member of the Saudi based organization in 1972 under the Presidency of Dr. Siaka P. Stevens.
The Ambassador was accompanied by the Embassy’s Head of Chancery, Umaru S. Dura, Confidential Secretary, Yealie B. Sesay and the Press Attaché.