Visiting OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen has held a meeting with Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali, MP this morning. The OIC Secretary General is leading a five member OIC delegation in his first ever visit to Bangladesh since assuming office last November.
During the meeting, the Dr. Othaimeen discussed issues of common interest of the Muslim Ummah and matters of bilateral importance between OIC and Bangladesh. During the meeting challenges of terrorism, Islamophobia, conflicts in the Muslim world, Muslim minority issue of the Rakhine Muslims of Myanmar, and development figured prominently during the discussion.
During his call Secretary General Dr. Othaimeen spoke of his courtesy call on the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid earlier in the morning and appreciated highly of her visionary and wise leadership in bringing about socio-economic development and women empowerment in Bangladesh mentioning that she is referred to as a great example of female leaders in the world in general and OIC in particular. He also praised Bangladesh’s advancement and development under her leadership.
Thanking Foreign Minister Ali for inviting him to visit Bangladesh, Dr. Othaimeen appreciated the role Bangladesh has been playing since its joining the OIC under the historic leadership of Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Foreign Minister Ali, gave him a short overview of the advancement and development of Bangladesh in various socio-economic fields; the hard work of the people of Bangladesh; inclusiveness and interfaith harmony of the multi faith society of Bangladesh; Bangladesh’s efforts in containing terrorism especially through appropriate counter terrorism narratives and so on.
On the issue of the Rakhine Muslims they had a discussion and both emphasised on the restoration of their rights including Rohingya’s Myanmar citizenship and return and sustainable repatriation to their homeland- Rakhine State. While the Foreign Minister talked about Bangladesh-Myanmar interaction at the levels of leadership and engagement in the matter and Bangladesh’s readiness for cooperation with Myanmar in different areas including the problem of the Rohingyas, Secretary General Othaimeen expressed consistent OIC support for and solidarity with the deprived Rakhine Muslims stressing on the urgency of Myanmar’s implementation of the Annan Advisory Commission report and a clear road map for a sustainable solution of the problem. He deeply appreciated Bangladesh’s patient hosting of a huge displaced Rohingya population.
Dr. Othaimeen appreciated Bangladesh’s increasingly important role in OIC and thanked its decision to host two important OIC events-first OIC 10th Tourism Ministers’ meeting in November this year and importantly, the 45th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in the first half of next year. He assured of OIC’s cooperation in that regard. He stressed on and spoke for increasing intra-OIC trade and investment, development of tourism especially Muslim family based tourism, and cooperation in the areas of science, technology, education, human resources building, and social security.
On terrorism, Dr. Othaimeen stressed the need for presenting the true image and spirit of Islam, couter-terrorism narratives as Bangladesh was bringing and encouraging Muslim diaspora to lead exemplary Muslim life to dispell Islamphobia.
The OIC Secretary General appreciated Bangladesh’s consistent support for the people of Palestine and thanked Foreign Minister Ali for Bangladesh participation in the lately held Istanbul conference of OIC Executive Committee meeting which was led by State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, MP.
He also discussed other issues relating to common OIC interest and matters of bilateral cooperation pledging to work together in the days ahead.