1st int’l Friends of Syria meet on Feb 24

1st int’l Friends of Syria meet on Feb 24

OIC, Australia sign political, tech. coop accord

Hameed Shaheen

ISLAMABAD – For the first time a futuristic framework agreement between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Government of Australia to step up cooperation in the politcal, humanitarian, science and technology fields has been signed Thursday in Canberra, Australian capital. On behalf of 57 member-States of OIC, Secretary General (SG) Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu signed the accord with the Australian Foreign Minister Mr Kevin Rudd, following extensive talks with him and with the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP in her Parliament House office, says an OIC emailed message here Thursday afternoon.

The two sides exchanged views on the latest situation in Syria and Palestine with focus on ways and means of enhancing OIC-Australia coordination and understanding. On the issue of Palestine, Ihsanoglu solicited Australia’s support for establishing the Palestinian state

and commended Canberra for its aid to Palestine especially for much needed areas of building state institutions and infrastructure.

In his wide-ranging talks SG Ihsanoglu emphasized that both the OIC countries and Australia can broaden their cooperation in the economic, political and humanitarian areas besides promoting good governance, human rights and countering terrorism. He pointed out prime priority of implementing joint projects for least developed OIC countries in their public health and education sectors by providing higher academic scholarships.

Mr Kevin Rudd expressed Australia’s keenness to strengthen bilateral relations with the OIC community and its willingness to widen the cooperation to include all areas of mutual vision and concern as stipulated in the framework agreement. Earlier, the Secretary General

called on Governor General Ms Caroline Cooper at Government House. He also gave a lecture at the National Press Club titled “Transition and Change: The OIC and the Islamic World”. Speaking in the international event of \”Transition and Change: The OIC and the Islamic World\” Ihsanoglu highlighted the ongoing phase of transition towards democracy saying it was an evoluton of society and not a revolution in strict sense of ideology. “It is a social and political earthquake, a massive expression of peoples’ will against the status quo,” he observed.

Answering world media questions the Secretary General said Australia can play a futuristic role in promoting peace in the Middle East. On Syria, OIC supports the decisions of the League of Arab states. The will represent 57 OIC states in the first important meeting of the ‘Friends of Syria’ in Tunis on Feb 24, 2012, an idea initially floated by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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