Speech of Sierra Leone Foreign Minister to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

Reprinteded from Sierra Express Media (abridged)

Asalamu Alaikum. It is a great honour and pleasure for me to address the 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC. In doing so, let me at the outset, convey fraternal greetings from His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone . . .

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Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of Sierra Leone’s delegation to the conference, Dr. Ebun Adebola Strasser King

The theme of this 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers “Joint Vision in Promoting tolerance and Rejecting Terrorism” is apt and appropriate. Indeed, we are convening at a time when the global community has had to grapple with the consequences of a range of natural disasters, deadly epidemics and, in particular, an increasing wave of terrorist insurgencies and unrests across the globe. . . .

On the sub-regional front, we are particularly grateful for the timely and coordinated response of the global community in complementing the efforts of our three countries; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the fight against the Ebola scourge. As struggle to put the Ebola Disease behind us, we look forward to further support through the OIC Trust Fund for the most affected countries in addressing the humanitarian and post-Ebola recovery projects.

Despite the isolation, stigmatization, travel restrictions and economic difficulties endured by these countries; the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has now been considerably subdued as exemplified by the recent declaration of Liberia as Ebola free, single digits or zero infection rates in Sierra Leone and reduced infection rate in Guinea. . .

Mr. Chairman,

Peace and development are mutually reinforcing and therefore the more nations continue to dive into conditions of instability, the more elusive are the prospects for socio-economic growth and prosperity. Thus the urgency of the need to work together as a united front and with one voice in finding urgent solutions to the causes of conflicts and acts of terrorism cannot be over-emphasised.

Inaction, or doing little, is an unintended complicity in the commission of atrocities on the vulnerable sectors of society – women, children and the elderly, who are always the most affected in situations of conflicts, acts of insecurity and terror. Partial to the theme of this session, we must endeavour to undertake initiatives ranging from humanitarian activities to mediation with a view to nurturing and promoting the culture of peace and tolerance among peoples. Sierra Leone therefore welcomes dialogue and peaceful settlement of international disputes and will continue to work and support the efforts of the OIC in achieving a peaceful and stable society in all the member countries for its entire people to enjoy prosperity.

We wish to underscore that this noble organisation must strive to portray peace initiatives and ideas coupled with the humanitarian values of the region which must be used as a strong weapon in the fight against Islamophobia. Sierra Leone calls on the OIC to intensify its efforts to uproot terrorism, by sharing relevant information, respect and tolerate each other and to collectively condemn acts of terrorism anywhere in the world. . .

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