ASTANA – Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov received Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad bin Amin Madani on Oct. 30 to discuss bilateral cooperation and explore Kazakhstan’s initiative to establish a food security organisation under the OIC with a main office in Astana.
“The idea to establish the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was first proposed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev and it became the focal point of our negotiations with Secretary General Madani within the framework of his visit to Kazakhstan,” Idrissov told a press conference after the talks.
“Together with the OIC, 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 added.
In recent years, Kazakhstan has made an effort to expand cooperation with the world’s Islamic community, focusing on economic and cultural ties, as well as political and security issues. To that end, in 1995, Kazakhstan joined what was then known as the Organisation for Islamic Conference (OIC), which was established in 1969 and renamed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in 2011. Kazakhstan became the first Central Asian country to chair the organisation as the rotating head of its Council of Foreign Ministers from June 2011 to November 2012.
OIC Secretary General Madani visited Kazakhstan for the first time on Oct. 29, arriving in Almaty where he met with students and faculty of the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and briefed them on the organisation’s formation, development and main areas of its activity. He emphasised Kazakhstan’s significant contribution to maintaining peace and promoting economic development in Islamic countries.
During the Oct. 30 meeting between Idrissov and Madani, Idrissov stated Kazakhstan considers the OIC a common collective voice of the world’s Muslims as well as a mechanism to promote international cooperation and security. He said a major OIC task is to promote peace and progress as well as meet Muslims’ other needs. He underlined Kazakhstan’s determination to develop relations with the OIC, referring to the positive results of Kazakhstan’s 2011-2012 OIC chairmanship, which took bilateral relations to a new level. In the framework of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship, the OIC conducted approximately 40 events.
The minister expressed gratitude for the OIC’s support for Kazakhstan’s initiative to conduct the 7th meeting of OIC agriculture ministers on food security and agro-industrial development and the first session of the IOFS General Assembly, scheduled for 2015 in Astana. He also highlighted the determination of the OIC leadership to help Kazakhstan organise a meeting of experts in Jeddah in January 2015 to prepare for the events.
The parties also discussed enhancing cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), one of the most important instruments of the OIC, as well as with such Islamic financial and economic institutions as 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.
Kazakhstan was the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country to partner with the IDB and 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.
They also touched on the economic and humanitarian cooperation between OIC states in Central Asia, highlighting the success of the first investment forum on a 10-year action plan forCentral Asian OIC states held in Dushanbe on Oct. 27-28. The parties also discussed OIC events scheduled for 2015 in Almaty, which was chosen as the cultural capital of the Islamic world for 2015. They agreed that these events would expand humanitarian ties and the close cooperation of Kazakhstan with the OIC.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is the largest interstate association in the Muslim world consisting of 57 countries and uniting the population of 1.5 billion people. It was founded in 1969 at the conference of the heads of Muslim states to ensure Islamic solidarity in the social, economic and political spheres and in the struggle against colonialism, neo-colonialism and racism, and to support Palestine.