65th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 72nd Session

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SIX OFFICIAL 06-Dec-2017 00:58:42
General Assembly adopts resolution strengthening ties between United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation at 65th Plenary meeting.
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While postponing action on a text on the investigation into the 1961 death of Dag Hammarskjöld, the General Assembly today adopted a resolution by recorded vote on cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), urging the United Nations system to cooperate with the body in areas of mutual interest.

The resolution, “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation" (document A/72/L.10), was adopted with 92 votes in favour to zero against, with four abstentions (Armenia, India, Israel, Syria). By its terms, the Assembly affirmed that the United Nations and OIC shared a common goal of promoting and facilitating the Middle East peace process with the goal to establish a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. It also affirmed that it shared a common objective of fostering peaceful and political solutions to other conflicts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and Security Council resolutions.

By other terms, the Assembly requested the United Nations and OIC to continue to cooperate in their common search for solutions to global problems, such as questions relating to international peace and security, disarmament, self-determination, promotion of a culture of peace, decolonization, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Assembly also welcomed OIC's engagement in the fight against violent extremism and terrorism — another goal shared by both organizations — and invited OIC to participate in all its sessions and those of its subsidiary bodies as an observer body.

Introducing the draft resolution on behalf of OIC members, Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoue (Cote d'Ivoire), said he hoped the text would be adopted by consensus. However, a recorded vote was requested, with speakers around the room voicing concerns or support for the text.

The representative of the European Union said that some of the language in the text was without any endorsement of declarations, decisions and resolutions adopted by OIC fora. He also added that the provisions of that body’s 2025 Programme of Action regarding Cyprus were not consistent with General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. OIC should refrain from adopting positions that would undermine international law, he said.

Azerbaijan’s delegate said that OIC and the United Nations must cooperate closely to push forward their shared agenda. OIC was already working closely with various regional organizations and had been networking successfully with the African Union and the European Union. She expressed concern that some members of OIC lived in conflict and under occupation, which continued to impede their socioeconomic development. She welcomed that organization’s role in promoting peace and expressed concern over a rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Saudi Arabia’s representative said OIC represented the common voice of the Muslim world and worked to protect human rights in the region. It settled and prevented conflicts and defended the Palestinian’s people right to their land. He also underscored the need to ensure a fair and decent life to the Rohingya people. OIC supported alleviating poverty, combating terrorism, sustainable development, harmony between religions, empowering women, and good governance. In that context, cooperation with the United Nations was essential.

However, Syria’s delegate said that it was an open secret that some OIC members had been voicing their discontent over that body’s increasingly undemocratic methods, as well as the fact that its host nation — Saudi Arabia — was attempting to impose its own will on other member States. That country bore the chief responsibility for the terrorism violence being perpetrated around the world, including in Syria, he stressed, noting that Saudi Arabia had fuelled and financed the spread of extremist Wahabi ideology. Adding that “we are at a historical turning point”, as the United States Government seemed to have made the unilateral and illegal decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, he asked: “What is the OIC doing today on behalf of Jerusalem?” He urged all countries to ensure that OIC remained transparent, equitable and never be linked to terrorism.

Following the vote, several delegates also took the floor, with Israel’s representative stating that the text was yet another attack on her country. Israel had not voted against the resolution but did disassociate itself from preambular paragraph four which noted the adoption of OIC’s 2025 Programme of Action. But for that reason, her delegation could not vote in favour of the resolution and had abstained, she said.

Echoing a similar sentiment, the United States representative said, while he had voted in favour of the text, he too had to disassociate himself with preambular paragraph four due to references to unacceptable statements on Israel.

Prior to action on that draft text, the General Assembly, after hearing the introduction of the resolution, “Investigation into conditions and circumstance resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him” (document A/72/L.19), decided to postpone action on the text.

Also speaking today were representatives of Canada, Australia and Armenia.

Speaking in right of reply were representatives of Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

The General Assembly will reconvene tomorrow, 7 December at 10 a.m. to consider reports of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).
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