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GUYANA AND SURINAME TO ATTEND OIC MEETING IN SAUDI ARABIA

JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia), June 15 — The two-only Latin American and Caribbean members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Suriname and Guyana, will participate in the upcoming OIC 41st foreign ministers meeting (CFM) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 18-19.

The foreign minister of Guyana, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, will be represented at the meeting by Irfan Ali, minister of housing, water and tourism, who will deliver an address to the gathering on behalf of Rodrigues-Birkett.

Suriname will also attend the meeting but the name of the delegate hasn’t been disclosed yet. The foreign minister of Suriname, Winston Lackin, will not be travelling to Jeddah himself. It is confirmed that he will travel to Kenya next week to attend the ACP/EU ministerial meeting from June 18-20.

Guyana and Saudi Arabia have recently expanded ties. The two countries will soon appoint honorary consuls in their respective capitals. Saudi Arabia is sending a team of investors to Guyana explore investment opportunities in Guyana. Guyana is also looking to join the Saudi-based Islamic Bank.

Suriname is a member of the IsDB. More recently, the IsDB, because of the initiative of the Bouterse government, has taken an active role in the socio-economic development of Suriname. For many years skeptics in the previous government kept the OIC and IsDB at arm’s length.

A wide range of issues of interest to member states will be discussed by the OIC leading to the adoption of resolutions on various issues, including the cause of Palestine and the Middle East; political affairs; ten-year programme of action; statutory, organic and general matters; legal affairs; conditions of Muslim minorities and communities in non-OIC member states; information affairs; administrative and financial affairs; humanitarian affairs; economic, science and technology, cultural, social, and family affairs.

The secretary general of the OIC, Iyad Madani, wants to focus the meeting on war and extremism that is plaguing the Muslim world. Syria, Palestine and the current crisis in Iraq will continue to dominate the agenda but many member states also want to address economic, political and social issues plaguing the Arab/Islamic Umma such as poverty, and economic development.

Some of the world’s poorest countries are members of the OIC. Many OIC states suffer from poverty and high illiteracy. The OIC and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is putting resources in place to address poverty. This led to the creation of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development and the adoption of the OIC’s ten-year plan to address the issues of poverty especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

SOURCE: CARIBBEANNEWS