OIC secretary general to visit Guyana and Suriname
NEW YORK - The secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, will make his first official tour of the Western hemisphere’s only two OIC member states, Guyana and Suriname, at the end of September, after the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the ministry of foreign affairs of Suriname and the OIC Mission to the UN confirmed.
Suriname’s relationship with the OIC has expanded significantly in the past five years. Recently the Parliament of Suriname ratified the OIC’s new charter. And the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), an organ of the OIC, has become more involved in the economic development of Suriname. The Islamic Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are currently jointly supporting the economic recovery of Suriname. The bank has offered Suriname a loan of US$1.75 billion to fund projects and support the import of essential goods and medicines.
Guyana, on the other hand, has been estranged from the OIC, failing to attend heads of government summits and smaller meetings. This is despite a promise by the new administration in Guyana to improve its participation in the group. Guyana was notably absent at the last OIC heads of government summit in Turkey earlier this year. Since its membership in 1993, Guyana has not yet officially appointed an ambassador to the OIC.
Financial constraints, the fact that the OIC was not a priority in Guyana’s foreign relations, and the lack of human resources are some of the reasons why Guyana has often been absent from OIC meetings and participation.
Madani will raise these issues when he visits Georgetown. During his visit, the OIC head will encourage Guyana to be more active at the OIC and offer political and economic support to Guyana. Guyana most likely will seek the OIC’s 57-country support against Venezuela’s claim to its territory.
Former Guyana envoy to the OIC, Dr Odeen Ishmael, said, “The OIC has always supported Guyana’s territorial integrity. It is important that Guyana maintain that support from the OIC. But to ensure that, Guyana has to participate in the important meetings of the OIC to press home it’s position.”
The OIC chief will begin his four-day visit in Suriname on September 28.
By Ray Chickrie