STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE DATO’ SRI ANIFAH HAJI AMAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MALAYSIA AT THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE 43RD SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS TASHKENT 18 OCTOBER 2016
HONOURABLE DATO’ SRI ANIFAH HAJI AMAN
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MALAYSIA
AT THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE
43RD SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
TASHKENT, 18 OCTOBER 2016
“EDUCATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT – PATH TO PEACE AND CREATIVITY”
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
His Excellency Abdul Aziz Kamilov
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan,
His Excellency Tan Sri Iyad Ameen Madani,
Secretary-General of the OIC,
His Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to me and my delegation. I would also like to congratulate and express my full support for Uzbekistan as the new Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers.
2. The Muslim world faces a multitude of challenges, such as conflicts, violent extremism and terrorism, underdevelopment, poverty and illiteracy. Some of these challenges derive, largely from the lack of or limited access to education.
3. As we know, education plays a vital role in the development of a country. It is key to the progress of a nation and crucial to its economic growth and social development. Educating our people is an essential investment that pays the best interest. An educated population is the greatest asset for any nation.
4. In this regard, Malaysia welcomes the theme of this Meeting, Education and Enlightenment – Path to Peace and Creativity, as education is indeed an indispensable and powerful tool to promote growth, unity, peace and prosperity.
5. The World Bank estimated that nearly 1 billion people would still live below the poverty line of USD1.25 per day from 2015 onwards, and nearly one-third of these were projected to be comprised of our members. This figure is telling.
6. It is imperative that we put emphasis on education as an enabler of growth, development and progress. The OIC must also give greater emphasis on cooperation in education between member states so that we can help each other grow and prosper, and provide opportunities for our people.
7. Marginalized groups and individuals facing economic inequality and social injustices are targets for radical groups to impart their misguided and twisted ideology. We must be vigilant and shield them from the appeal of these extremists to join their violent cause.
8. To do so, we must build inclusive and sustainable economies, and give them hope for the future. Our education systems must not only equip them with skills and knowledge, it must also inculcate strong values of compassion, spirituality and patriotism. It must also nurture values of mutual respect, understanding and tolerance, which is the essence of the moderation approach. Only through this concerted effort, can we hope to have progressive, peaceful and stable societies.
9. The Palestinian struggle for an independent and sovereign state remains at the forefront of the challenges facing the OIC. For far too long, our Palestinian brothers and sisters have had to endure untold sufferings because of the illegal occupation of their homeland by Israel. These illegal Israeli settlements have continued to expand on occupied Palestinian lands.
10. In relation to this, I am pleased to share with you that Malaysia, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, organized just last week on 14 October in New York, an Arria-formula meeting, focusing on illegal settlements, as obstacles to peace and the two-state solution.
11. Malaysia hopes that the Arria-formula meeting will set a stage to begin a process towards subsequently adopting a Security Council resolution to halt settlement expansion.
12. This is Malaysia’s third initiative on Palestine since we became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in January last year. The first Arria-meeting focused on Gaza in July 2015, and the second was on the protection of Palestinian civilians in May 2016.
13. Therefore, I would like to urge all Member States to continue providing humanitarian and material support to Palestinians, particularly, to the youth, in the field of education.
14. Malaysia will continue to steadfastly support the Palestinian cause and for the attainment of a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
15. In concluding, I would like to assure you of Malaysia’s continued commitment and support for our noble Organisation.
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