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Security and Peace in the Region and the World

Parallel to joint efforts towards fulfilling the historical mission of the Islamic world in contributing to the shaping of a new humane world order, the full-fledged cooperation of Muslim countries towards the provision and preservation of world peace is an undeniable necessity. However, the provision of security and lasting humane peace in the world entails that the cold-war paradigm which was based on the necessity of the existence-for public opinion-of an actual or imagined external enemy be cast aside. It is unfortunate though that certain expansionist tendencies in the world are seeking to create an imaginary enemy , of Islam. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us all to strive, through effective and continual participation in the promotion of peace and security at regional and global levels, to strengthen confidence, reduce security concerns and moreover, render ineffective the wrong inculcations by the enemies of Islam. We should be vigilant, however, about what is most threatening to our security, that is, the trend of increasing threats against the very political, cultural, and economic existence of Muslims, particularly because the extension of the range of these threats, law, pursuit of state terrorism, and development of nuclear weapons, seriously threatens peace and security in the region.

In the sensitive and strategic region of the Persian Gulf, the regional states themselves should undertake to preserve security and peace. In our view, the presence of foreign forces and armada in this sensitive area serves not only as a source of tension and insecurity, but also has tragic environmental consequences.

What is happening in the dear land of Afghanistan is indeed a massive human tragedy, as well as a fertile ground for foreign intervention and disruption of security and stability in the whole region. Muslim countries, and for that matter, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, should insist that there is no military solution to the Afghan problem. The painful predicament in this country should be resolved, initially through negotiation with the parties involved and finally, by the Afghan people themselves. The Islamic Conference is expected to help guide this country towards peace and tranquility through inviting all the parties involved to engage in negotiation.

The situation in Iraq, particularly in the north, is also a cause for concern. While inviting Iraq to cooperate properly with the United Nations, we believe that foreign intervention, particularly conflict and war in the northern area that has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, has created the grounds for widespread insecurity in the region. We attach great importance to the territorial integrity of Iraq and declare our readiness to undertake all humanitarian measures in this important country of the region.

The dangerous designs for foreign infiltration and penetration, particularly by Israel, in various parts of our region are a serious cause for concern, underlining the necessity of vigilance on the part of all countries of the region. We welcome the active and self-assertive presence of the states of Central Asia and the Caucasus in the process of independence and development towards the honor and dignity of the Islamic world. At this point, while welcoming the trend of peace in the friendly and fraternal nation of Tajikistan, I deem it necessary to express our gratitude to President Rahmonov and Mr. Abdullah Noori, the chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission, for their cooperation towards the Conference to exert its utmost efforts in order to prevent the spread of ethnic differences as well as to strengthen the process of peace in this country.

Some Islamic countries are currently facing foreign threats and conspiracies and are also burdened with difficulties emanating from internal differences. The Islamic Conference in general and Islamic countries in particular should declare their solemn support for the independence and interests of these countries as well as their respect for the wishes and aspirations of Muslim nations. Moreover, the Islamic Conference should act and move in a manner and direction that Muslims everywhere in the world, including Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries, find in the organization a source of confidence and assured support.

In any eventuality, we should remain vigilant vis--vis visible as well as invisible sources of threat against our security. We believe that the Islamic countries have reached the requisite stage of maturity to undertake, through understanding and conclusion of collective agreements and treaties, to preserve their own security as well as that of the region in which they live. In this particular connection, the Islamic Republic of Iran, while emphasizing cooperation among states in the Persian Gulf region for the preservation of regional peace and stability, considers the conclusion of collective defense-security arrangements in the Persian Gulf an assured step towards the establishment of lasting security in the region and towards the defense of the common interests and concerns of all the countries and nations concerned.

Adapted from the book: "Islam, Dialogue and Civil Society" by: "Sayyid Mohammad Khatami"

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