OIC Sec Gen, Kazakh FM Discuss Food Security, OIC’s Role
Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov met Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad bin Amin Madani on Oct. 30 in Astana to discuss bilateral cooperation and explore the possibility of establishing an OIC food security organisation with a headquarters in Astana.
The idea of creating an Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) proposed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev a few years ago became a focal point of negotiations on Madani’s visit, Idrissov told a press conference after the meeting, expressing gratitude for the OIC’s support for the idea. “The OIC and Kazakhstan will hold the first General Assembly of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security in March – April 2015 and the seventh meeting of OIC agriculture ministers for food security in Kazakhstan,” he said. The OIC leadership will help Kazakhstan organise a meeting of experts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this January to prepare for the events.
In a related development on Nov 6 Kazakhstan Senate's plenary session approved a draft law "On ratification of the Charter of the Islamic Organization for Food Security", Kazinform news agency reported.The bill would now be sent to President for signature.
During the Oct. 30 meeting, Idrissov noted that the OIC provides a collective voice for the Muslim world, as well as a mechanism for promoting cooperation and security. Promoting peace and progress is a major OIC task, he said. He stressed Kazakhstan’s desire to build its relationship with the OIC, referring to the positive response to the country’s 2011-2012 chairmanship, during which some 40 events were conducted.
The parties also discussed enhancing cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), a significant OIC instrument that Idrissov credited with helping reform and develop Kazakhstan’s economy. Increasing cooperation with institutions like the Islamic Centre for the Development of Trade, the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Statistical and Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries was also discussed.
Kazakhstan was the first country among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to partner with the IDB. Kazakhstan’s 2011 OIC chairmanship and initiatives set forth by the OIC Astana Declaration promoted bilateral collaboration and the gradual integration of Islamic banking into Kazakhstan’s financial system.
Idrissov and Madani also touched on economic and humanitarian cooperation between OIC states in Central Asia, a recent success of which was the first investment forum on a 10-year action plan for Central Asian OIC states, held in Dushanbe on Oct. 27-28. Almaty will be the OIC cultural capital of the Islamic world for 2015, and the parties also discussed cultural events scheduled in that context, which are intended to expand cooperation and humanitarian ties.
Kazakhstan has recently been increasing efforts to cooperate with the global Islamic community, building economic and cultural ties and broaching political and security issues. In 1995, Kazakhstan joined the Organisation for Islamic Conference (later renamed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and in 2011 – 2012 became the first Central Asian country to chair the organisation as head of its Council of Foreign Ministers.
Madani arrived in Almaty on Oct. 29 and met with students and faculty of the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, briefing them on the OIC’s background and main areas of activity and emphasising Kazakhstan’s contribution to peace and economic development across the Muslim world.
Including 57 countries and uniting a population of 1.5 billion people, the OIC is the largest interstate association in the Muslim world. The organisation was founded in 1969 and aims to ensure Islamic social, economic and political solidarity, to support Palestine and to maintain the fight against colonialism and racism.