Muslim Foreign Ministers agree to revise OIC Charter


Dakar : The foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries have agreed changes to the Charter of the Muslim world’s main representative body, officials said. “We have concluded a historic act” with the consensus on a revised charter after two years of debate within the 57-member body,” said Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, foreign minister of Senegal, told a press conference here yesterday. Gadio said there was a “99.99 percent chance” that the changes would be formally approved by OIC leaders at their Summit on Thursday and Friday. The two-day Foreign Ministerial Meeting preparatory to the 11th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference concluded here yesterday.

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Gadio said the points revised included criteria for membership or observer status of the OIC, modernizing its institutions and giving a new definition for self-determination. He said foreign ministers also agreed to strengthen an Islamic solidarity fund launched in May last year, create an anti-poverty fund and a program to aid African nations, and to seek debt eradication for OIC members. OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who is also present at the press conference, emphasized that the current charter has been used since 1972, three years after the group was founded. It has grown from 24 members to 57 and Ihsanoglu said “the OIC is not what it was in 1972 and the world we are living in today is no longer the bipolar Cold War.” Former presidents and other political leaders and scholars as well as legal experts took part in a panel that recommended changes to the charter.