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UN2K: Islamic Conference SG Dr. Azeddine Laraki




His Excellency Dr. Azeddine Laraki


of the Organization of the Islamic Conference


The Millennium Summit

of the United Nations

8 September 2000

New York

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Madame President, Mr. President,

I bring you greetings from the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and its best wishes and prayers for the success of this historic gathering of Heads of State and Government, the largest, perhaps, of its kind ever held on this planet.

This event is momentous, and the atmosphere here is overwhelming, signifying, as it does, the seriousness with which the Heads of State and Government of the countries of the world view the opportunity to unite in the common cause of peace and prosperity, to be collectively pursued by each andevery one of us in the new Millennium ahead.

We have entered into the twenty-first century with great expectations but also with some daunting constraints. In the century that has just gone by, mankind has strenuously but successfully explored the environment and made considerable progress in uncovering, through the acquired scientific knowledge and technological skills, some of the keys to the alleviation of many of the human society's social and material constraints and problems. The challenge now is to use the acquired knowledge and skills in a manner that would serve the interests, and cater to the needs, of all of mankind so that no one remains deprived of, and everyone benefits from, the resources with which our Creator has enriched the earth.

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Madame President, Mr. President,

The notion of Dialogue Among Civilizations, introduced by His Excellency Seyed Mohammad Khatami President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Chairman of the Islamic Summit Conference, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, if pursued in the spirit of constructivism and mutual respect, should take us a long way towards the attainment of the noble objectives of peace and prosperity for all. I express the hope that the year of the dialogue, being commemorated in 2001, ushers in an era of mutual understandings, healthy and fruitful contacts and the sharing of knowledge and skills on all fronts of human needs and endeavors, so that we may attain the worthwhile developmental goals especialIv of poverty alleviation, social integration, full employment and education and health care services for all.

This leads me to the concept of globalization, and to some misgivings and caution with which this is being viewed in certain quarters, especially in the Third World. I share the view of His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, that "we must make globalization an engine that lifts people out of hardship and misery, not a force that holds them down". We must carefully and meticulously ensure that globalization promotes equity, guarantees equality of opportunity, enforces transparency and fosters confidence and mutual respect in all dealings among the peoples and nations of the world.

Towards this goal, it is imperative, indeed indispensable, that an environment of freedom and justice prevails over all peoples and nations of the world. Every human being deserves to breath the air of freedom and to be empowered to exercise his or her role in constructive developmental undertakings for the benefit of the society as a whole.

This calls for the end of foreign occupation, and the exercise of the right of self- determination, in places that remain deprived of it I refer particularly to the rights of self-determination of the peoples of Palestine, and of Kashmir. Until such time as they, and any others in simlilar situation, continue under bondage, the entire humanity remains in a state of shame. It is incumbent upon the United Nations to help redeem these members of the human society from their long-suffered predicaments so that they may regain their dignity and selfrespect and join forces with the rest of us, as free and equal partners in the developmental tasks that lie ahead.

Madame President, Mr. President,

At the moment when our world is at the crossroads of the trends and events that either threaten mass destruction or promise a just and progressive future, let us not loose the precious opportunity that this Millennium Summit offers us today. Let this be remembered as the moment when the leadership of the world rose to the occasion and, using all its God-given wisdom, it laid down the foundations of a healthy, safe and progressive global village which should be our collective destination in the new Millennium. Towards this goal, I pledge to you the full cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the time ahead.


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