Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must, at the outset, convey my regrets for being unable to personally participate in this important meeting since it coincided with my visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which, as you would agree, has assumed priority attention for all of us, particularly for the fifty-four OIC Member States present here today.

I would like to begin by conveying my heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Indonesia over the recent tragic earthquake.

I would like to express my utmost and sincere appreciation to the Honorable Prime Minister, the Honorable Foreign Minister and to the Government and people of Malaysia for their warm hospitality and perfect arrangements. As the current Chairman of the Islamic Summit Conference, the OIC, like NAM, also continues to tremendously benefit from the dynamic and wise leadership of Malaysia.

Ever since the Bandung Conference, NAM has successfully played a commendable role in forging solidarity amongst its developing countries; supporting colonized people in their struggle for liberation and independence; championing the causes of the downtrodden and oppressed people all across the globe and in sincerely striving towards making the world a safer place. NAM has also tirelessly endeavoured towards the establishment of a just and equitable international economic order as well as the promotion of sustainable economic cooperation among its Member States.

OIC and NAM have consistently maintained mutually beneficial relations and strongly supported and promoted the causes of the developing countries in the international fora, particularly in the United Nations. I am confident that, in these challenging times, these relations would continue to be strengthened in all fields.

The international community is experiencing difficult and unprecedented circumstances in this tough and rough unipolar world, with an increasing resort to the use of or the threat to use force in the conduct of international relations. The effectiveness of institutions that could guarantee international peace and security, particularly the United Nations, is being undermined by such unilateral actions.

The theme of this Conference “Towards a more Dynamic and Cohesive Non-Aligned Movement: Challenges of the 21st Century” is most timely. In order to maintain its relevance and credibility, NAM now needs to assume a new proactive, rather than a reactive, role. It needs to further reinforce solidarity and cooperation amongst its Member States and effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of globalization --- politically, economically and socio-culturally. It should enter into global partnerships, rejuvenate active multilateralism and ensure that international relations are based upon mutual respect and mutual understanding. Recognition of the interdependence of countries, and of issues, should form the basis of global peace and prosperity in this century. NAM Member States should work together with both the sole superpower and the emerging powers in order to seek peaceful solutions, restrain unilateralism and counter the mindless slide towards fragmentation and confrontation.

The OIC Member States and Muslims around the world, despite their demographic, economic and political weight, are going through a momentous period in their history. They are confronted with daunting challenges, in the political, socio-cultural, economic and scientific fields. These, inter alia, include the extremely volatile situation in the Middle East, due to the persistent denial by Israel of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination; the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Jammu and Kashmir, Cyprus, Nogorno-Karabakh, Southern Philippines and Chechnya; the Iranian nuclear issue; widespread poverty, disease and illiteracy; natural calamities; the menace of terrorism and the utterly baseless attempt to link it with Islam and the inalienable right of people to self-determination and, most recently, the alarming phenomena of Islamophobia and attempts to defame Islam and its Holy Prophet (SAW) by the West.

Keeping in view these formidable challenges, the OIC, like NAM, recently undertook a similar exercise at its Third Extraordinary Summit Conference held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in December last year, upon the gracious initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and with the strong support of Prime Minister Dr. Abdullah Badawi of Malaysia. This historic Summit unanimously adopted an ambitious Ten-year Programme of Action, which aims at forging solidarity amongst OIC Member States and commits them to undertake Joint Islamic Action, in order to comprehensively address all the challenges confronting the Muslim World.

While embarking upon the implementation of this Programme of Action, OIC is synchronizing its efforts with the UN Millennium Development Goals. The OIC also looks forward to the strong support of all NAM Member States in this regard.

To conclude, I sincerely pray that your deliberations will lead to a world free from the threat of war, annihilation, foreign occupation, hatred, hunger, disease, illiteracy and poverty.

I thank you.