The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has a key contribution to make in the battle against terrorism, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message delivered today to an OIC meeting in Doha, Qatar.
"The OIC has a central role in devising an effective strategy to combat terrorism, not least because your Member States have themselves suffered from terrorism," the Secretary-General said in his message to the OIC Extraordinary Foreign Minister Conference.
The Secretary-General recalled that the OIC had immediately condemned the recent attacks against the United States while helping to convince the international community that "Islam and terrorism are not the same, never were and never will be." He also urged Foreign Ministers present at the meeting to continue spreading the message of the inherently peaceful and tolerant nature of Islam.
The Secretary-General emphasized that the global response to terrorism must be "truly universal and not divisive." He pledged that the UN would continue to address the ills of hatred, ignorance, conflict and poverty wherever they are found. "But every nation and every people have a responsibility to contribute to the fight against terrorism by ensuring that differences and disputes are resolved through political means, and not through violence," he added.
Mr. Annan also called attention to the plight of innocent Afghan civilians "who cannot be held responsible for the actions of the Taliban regime." Pointing out that they were "in desperate need of aid," he pledged that the UN would step up its humanitarian work in Afghanistan as soon as possible.
Underscoring the need for a political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the Secretary-General noted that the UN is actively engaged in promoting the creation of a fully representative, multi-ethnic and broad-based Afghan Government.
The message was delivered on Mr. Annan's behalf by Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Africa.