Address by Acting President of the Republic of Uzbekistan H.E. Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the opening ceremony of the 43rd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
18.10.2016
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem!

Dear Mr. Chairman!

Excellencies!

Esteemed ministers and heads of delegations!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Assalamu-alaykum va rahmatullohi va barakatuhu!

First of all, allow to welcome you, dear guests, the heads of delegations of the Member States and Observer Countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, representatives of international organizations and all participants of the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the land of Uzbekistan and express my sincere respect!!!

We express our heartfelt gratitude that the capital city of Uzbekistan – Tashkent was chosen to hold this important forum of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – today’s one of the most prestigious and largest institutions of multilateral cooperation.

We believe that this session will become an important step along the path of achieving such noble goals as safeguarding the values of sacred Islam, strengthening the solidarity among the Muslim nations, ensuring sustainable progress, as well as rendering assistance to the development and well-being of the people of Member States of the Organization.

We are pleased of the results of mutual cooperation achieved in the framework of preparations to this forum. In this regard we highly appreciate the productive work by the General Secretariat and personally its leadership –Mr. Iyad Madani and the Member States followed by the spirit of solidarity.

There is a deep symbolic meaning that the topic «The education and enlightenment – path to peace and creativity» was defined as a main idea of the 43rd session’s agenda. This idea is consonant with a famous hadith «Live and learn». This topic was proposed by the First President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, the great statesman with a profound life experience and long-term vision, may Allah be pleased with him…..

This topic has resulted from the in-depth contemplations of the founder of the state of Uzbekistan about the people of the world, fate of his own nation and significance of our sacred religion in today’s complicated conditions.

We are witnessing how the world is rapidly changing and new menaces and dangers are emerging that threaten the stability and development of nations. In these conditions it is ever important to pay a serious attention to the spirituality and education, moral upbringing, obtaining knowledge by youth and their harmonious growth.

It is the education and enlightenment that are considered to be major factors of humanity’s well-being. They call on people for kindness. They appeal to be generous and patient.

Our sacred religion of Islam teaches us these very virtues!!!

Dear participants of the session!

It is not by chance that the slogan «The education and enlightenment – path to peace and creativity»was chosen as a topic of our today’s forum.

It is because this session is taking place in Uzbekistan, where our great ancestors were born.

The names of such geniuses as Imam Bukhari and Burkhaniddin Marghinoniy, Isa and Khakim Termiziys, Makhmud Zamakhshariy and Qaffol Shoshiy, Bakhouddin Nakshband and Khoja Akhror Valiy, Muhammad Khorazmiy and Akhmad Farghoniy, Abu Raikhon Beruniy and Abu Ali ibn Sino, Mirzo Ulughbek, and Alisher Navoiy have been inscribed with golden letters in the history of world civilization.

The most authoritative compilation of ahadith of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the well-known and famous work for all Muslims, is a result of selfless research by the son of this land – Imam Bukhari. This work has been remaining as a second authoritative written source about our sacred religion after Holy Koran.

Certainly, it is not for nothing that millions of Muslims not only fr om our land, but also from other countries strive to go to a birthplace of this dear person – the sacred Bukhara and visit his graveside in Samarkand.

The teaching of Moturidiya which was founded in the 10th century by a scholar from Samarkand Abu Mansur Moturidiy is broadly spread in the Islamic world.

In the process of obtaining knowledge the teaching of Moturidiya attaches a profound attention to the place and significance of the human wit and intellect on the basis of the idea of tolerance. In its turn, this aspect was important in broad popularization of this teaching. At present, the humankind is still feeling a profound need in such ideas.

Nothing is left in great history without a trace. It remains in the blood and the historical memory of peoples, and reflects in practical deeds. Therefore it is powerful.

It is one of the priority directions of our state to preserve the historical heritage, study and transfer it from generations to generations.

These priorities become more important in the condition of globalization, when the new threats, and particularly, the «popular culture» and mood of sponging are emerging.

Therefore, at present it is ever important to safeguard and enrich the sources that define the spiritual world of a man and culture of peoples.

It is a noble duty of all of us to preserve and cherish our sacred religion which embodies our eternal values and moral qualities.

Islam means comprehending truth.

It calls upon humankind to practice kind deeds. It calls upon each of us to goodness and peace. It teaches to be a real human being.

We strongly condemn the persons who are exploiting the religion of Islam for the purposes of violence and bloodshed, and we will never come to terms with them.

We will always protect our sacred religion!!!

During the years of Independence the large-scale work was accomplished in Uzbekistan in terms of restoring the place of Islam in our society. Islam is considered to be the sacred religion of our ancestors.

In 1999 the first Islamic University in Central Asia was established in Tashkent. Ten religious educational institutions, in particular, the Tashkent Islamic Institute, 9 secondary special educational institutions are operating in our country. Two of them are for girls and women.

Among those institutes there are Mir Arab madrassah in Bukhara and Kukaldosh madrassah in Tashkent, which were built in the 16th century and are serving to broadly disseminate knowledge and science in our country.

During the communistic regime, which reigned for 70 years, just 130 people from Uzbekistan undertook a Hajj pilgrimage. Now each year more than 5 thousand people are accomplishing a Muslim’s duty. Those years only 30 mosques were in our republic.

At present, the thousands of mosques are operating in our country. The monuments of Islam and sacred sites were restored in every region of our country. Dear guests, you can visit most of them during your stay in Uzbekistan.

No doubt, from now onwards our sacred religion will continue to serve as a medium, which cannot be replaced by anything, to unite our people irrespective of their nationality and language, call upon to mutual respect and accord, spiritual purification, peace, kindness and tolerance.

Dear participants of the session!

The main goal while building an independent and strong state in Uzbekistan is to construct a just society wh ere a human being, his spiritual, cultural and material needs shall be considered as a prime value, as well as his rights and freedoms shall be upheld.

We well comprehend that this is, first of all, related to improving the system of education and enlightenment, directing the youth, who are the future of our country, to acquiring a modern knowledge and upbringing a harmoniously mature generation. The implementation of the National program for cadres training adopted in 1997 has cardinally reformed this sphere.

At present, all our sons and daughters are covered with a twelve-year free and mandatory education. They are obtaining knowledge at 10 thousand reconstructed or newly built comfortable schools, 1,5 thousand academic lyceums and vocational colleges. Nearly 300 schools of music and art, and over 2200 sport facilities are also operating.

During the years of Independence, the number of higher education institutions in our country increased 2,5 times. The branches of seven foreign higher education institutes are functioning in Uzbekistan. Thousands of our talented youth are attending the prestigious universities of the world.

In our country more than 7% of the State budget against GDP is channelled to the sphere of education.

Since the early years of Independence, the youth policy in our country is considered to be the most priority and one of the main guidelines of state. Since the youth are our future. With an aim to further deepen the state policy in this sphere the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan «On the state policy on youth» in new wording was adopted recently.

The accomplished reforms are now proving to be effective. Our youth are securing the world-acclaimed gains in the sphere of business, science, culture, arts, literature and sports. This instils us a profound confidence that the forthcoming generations are capable to worthily continue the noble deeds started by our great ancestors.

Ladies and gentlemen!

At present we are living in a historical stage of the human progress, literally speaking, in the historical stage with rapid changes in place.

For over the last years, the radical geopolitical changes have taken place in the world. The sharp intensification of the globalization process is not only expanding the human capabilities, but also leading to the growth of gap between the developed and backward countries.

As a result, various actions are being carried out, which are of a transnational nature by their essence and scope, and threaten peace and stability.

The people, who are left without a shelter, are wondering in alien lands and experiencing grave sufferings. Due to the armed confrontations and terrorism the innocent children, elderly and women are being killed. Many countries are being devastated as an outcome of endless wars.

In these conditions the role and responsibility of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are ever increasing in serving as a particular ground for maintaining a dialogue on urgent issues of the Member States.

We highly value that our Organization is carrying out its activity with deep comprehension that it is impossible to achieve stability and security without tackling the economic and social problems.

This, in its turn, necessitates to further expand the scope of activities of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

It is important to widen the dialogue on various levels among countries and nations, establish the systemic ties not only among governments, but also the parliaments, representatives of education and science, culture and public. These very objectives can consolidate the multilateral cooperation in the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

As a chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Republic of Uzbekistan will do its best to further strengthen the potential of the Organization and contribute to the achievement of the noble goals.

During its chairmanship in the Council, Uzbekistan will try to reinforce the role of the Organization as an efficient and authoritative forum of the Muslim states.

The slogan of this session, which is being held under the chairmanship of Uzbekistan, vividly reflects our priorities. They are as follows:

First, the role of education is ever increasing in enhancing the living standards of population and might of a country.

The life itself proves that in the competition among states and civilizations the place of national and universal values is unique.

From this point of view, it is especially important to deeply study, comprehensively understand and widely popularize the works of Islamic scholars, who are our great ancestors, their invaluable contribution to the development of the world civilization.

This is important to strengthen among the youth the feeling of strife to obtain education and learn science, ensure proper comprehension and acceptance of the Islamic values and culture by all societies, and promote the real essence of Islam among all nations of the world. At present, it is also especially important to establish a dialogue among religions, nations and cultures on international level to achieve peace and tranquillity.

Second, it is impossible to imagine the sustainable social and economic progress without innovative development, broad-scale scientific and technical collaboration, introduction of new technologies, scientific and technical achievements.

For this very reason it is proposed in the framework of our Organization to further advance science and technology, stir up a scientific and technological exchange and conduct joint research in other spheres.

No doubt, it is difficult to imagine the cooperation of the Member States without the Islamic Development Bank.

Taking this opportunity, I am pleased to congratulate His Excellency, Esteemed Mr. Bandar Hajjar on his election as president of this Bank starting from October 1, 2016!!!

Third, all of us are concerned that the problem of security is becoming extremely acute and tragic.

Ensuring unity among the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is important in combating the dangers which threaten peace and stability.

Particularly, the most important task is to peacefully resolve the existing or emerging discords and confrontations on the basis of negotiations, universally recognized principles and norms of international law, using the political-diplomatic and international legal mechanisms.

Fourth, the Islamic world possesses enormous economic and investment potential, as well as energy resources. Their proper use, extending the international trade, economic, financial and investment cooperation of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and establishing the transport corridors, which link our countries, will give the opportunity to achieve the high economic growth. In the final outcome, this will serve as a basis for the development of all other areas.

In this regard, it is especially important to enhance the mechanisms of interaction of our Organization’s Member States with other countries of the world.

Fifth, taking this fine opportunity we would like to announce some initiatives for the period of chairmanship of Uzbekistan in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The essence of the first initiative is about establishment of the international scientific research center with an aim to study the multifaceted religious and spiritual heritage of our great ancestors, who made a unique contribution not only to the Islamic culture, but also the world civilization.

It would be logical to establish such a center at the Imam Bukhari Memorial Complex in Samarkand. A number of convenient factors determine this:

First of all, a special place of Samarkand in the world civilization as one of the pearls of Islamic culture.

Along with this, the unique moral and spiritual climate peculiar to this place, where the sacred mausoleum of one of the great Muslim scholars Imam Bukhari is located.

The proposed research center could be given a sublime and symbolic name of «The Imam Bukhari International Research Center in Samarkand» under the aegis of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

We hope that the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation His Excellency, Esteemed Mr. Iyad Madani will support our initiative and kindly extend his assistance to implement this project!!!

Another initiative of Uzbekistan is establishment of the special chair of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the structure of the Tashkent Islamic University.

The main area of activity of the new chair could be teaching the education, science and culture in the Muslim world.

Dear friends!

We hope that learning about rich historical and cultural heritage of our Homeland in the course of our forum and your visit to Uzbekistan will further strengthen our ties in tourism, humanitarian, scientific and other spheres.

In this regard, on our part we will take measures aimed at simplification of formalities related to travelling of tourists and representatives of Member States of the Organization to our country.

Sixth, the problem of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains one of the most urgent issues of the present day. Yet in 1993 Uzbekistan put forward the initiative on establishment of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia.

This initiative found its practical embodiment in the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia signed by Uzbekistan and neighboring countries in 2006, as well as the Protocol on Negative Guarantees signed by five permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2014.

Uzbekistan stands for consistent widening of scales of nuclear-weapon-free zones and supports the idea of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Dear participants of the session!

I am confident that the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will further strengthen the potential and authority of our Organization on the international arena and efficient accomplishment of common tasks standing before us.

In conclusion, I am pleased to invite all of you to Samarkand – one of the pearls of the Orient.

I wish success to the work of the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Thank you for your attention.

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