Gambia hosts 15th OIC Summit, President Barrow calls for unity, peace

In a landmark address at the 15th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Islamic Summit held in Banjul, The Gambia, His Excellency President Adama Barrow emphasized the critical need for unity, dialogue, and sustainable development within the Muslim world.

The two-day summit, attended by distinguished leaders and delegates from across the Islamic world, commenced with President Barrow extending a warm welcome to all attendees, expressing immense pride in hosting the summit on the “Smiling Coast of Africa.”

In his opening remarks, President Barrow conveyed gratitude to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia for his generous support, which enabled the successful convening of the summit after several postponements.

“For this achievement, I express most profound appreciation and gratitude to His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques and Chairman of The 14th OIC Summit, together with the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, His Royal Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud for their unwavering support and generosity. Their massive financial and material support allowed us to make all the necessary preparations for the occasion.”

He commended the efforts of the OIC Secretary-General and highlighted China’s invaluable contribution towards constructing the state-of-the-art conference center, symbolizing unity and cooperation among member states.

“Furthermore, on behalf of the OIC, I deeply thank the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Chair of the 14th OIC Summit for the laudable work done during The Kingdom’s tenure as Chair of the OIC over the past three years. In the same vein, I sincerely commend the OIC Secretary-General and his staff for magnificently running the Organisation’s affairs since his appointment. Their dedication and tireless efforts hugely contributed to the success of our collective endeavours.”

The theme of the summit, “Enhancing Unity and Solidarity through Dialogue and Sustainable Development,” resonated throughout President Barrow’s address.

He stressed the importance of mediation and dialogue in resolving conflicts and fostering lasting peace amidst the challenges of terrorism, factional violence, and armed conflicts facing the Muslim world.

President Barrow, assuming the chairmanship of the OIC for the next three years, pledged to prioritize economic cooperation, cultural exchange, and addressing critical issues such as poverty, education, and healthcare within member states.

He underscored The Gambia’s commitment to promoting peace and stability in conflict-ridden regions through diplomatic solutions and humanitarian aid.

“This Summit provides a unique opportunity for Member States to strengthen relations through dialogue, share experiences for deeper mutual understanding, and adopt innovative resolutions that go beyond national borders to foster collective peace and inclusive sustainable development. A viable route to achieve these objectives lies in sustained cordial relations within an environment of trust and cooperation.”

The president particularly emphasized the urgency of addressing the prolonged conflict in Palestine, calling for a comprehensive peace conference based on a two-state solution to ensure sovereignty, dignity, and security for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Regarding the Rohingya crisis, President Barrow reaffirmed The Gambia’s pursuit of justice and accountability through legal proceedings against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, urging member states to stand in solidarity against oppression and atrocity.

“It is essential to address the prolonged conflict in Palestine and the devastating wars in Gaza. Those encounters have caused endless human suffering for over seventy-five (75) years. Certainly, the plight of the Palestinians is a matter of grave concern, not only to the Muslim Ummah but also the entire world. The ongoing violence, instability in the region, and humanitarian crisis in Gaza continue to make the prospects for peace remote. In fact, the hostilities pose a serious threat to regional stability and global peace. I call upon Member States to take decisive action to address the root causes of the conflict and work towards a just and lasting solution.”

Throughout his address, Barrow highlighted the need for economic cooperation, trade, and capacity-building among member states to promote prosperity and address developmental challenges.

He urged member states to uphold justice, equality, and mutual respect, advocating for religious tolerance and harnessing diversity to achieve the shared vision of unity, solidarity, and peace.

“Let us reaffirm our commitment to justice, equality, and mutual respect and re-dedicate ourselves to the honourable cause of advancing the interests of the Muslim Ummah and humanity.  May this Summit serve to fulfil our vision of “Unity and Solidarity Through Dialogue and Sustainable Development” and act as a catalyst for positive change to pave the way for a world of peace, security, and prosperity for all generations.”

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