Peace at home, peace in the world

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Statement by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at the OIC Executive Committee Meeting on the Latest Developments in the Central African Republic, 20 February 2014, Jeddah

Dear Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guinea Mr. Lounceny Fall,
H.E. Secretary-General Dr. Iyad Madani,
Esteemed Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Chairman and Secretary-General of the OIC for convening this timely meeting and also would like to congratulate for assuming this very important mission.

The rapid deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic is of great concern to us all.

The situation is aggravated by the weakening of state authority and the collapse of the rule of law. As a result, the Central African Republic is faced with the imminent danger of disintegration and permanent division.

The plight of our Muslim brothers and sisters in particular has worsened markedly after Séléka units have been disbanded and left the capital. As we assemble here today, tens of thousands of Muslims are moving to the north of the country and take refuge in neighboring countries to save their lives.

I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Governments of Chad and Cameroon for their efforts to accommodate these desperate refugees. I would like to emphasize that we are ready to work with them on this humanitarian issue and are always at their disposal.

Violence, which has led to the killings of dozens of Muslims and their mass exodus from the Central African Republic, poses a serious threat, not only to the future of the country itself, but to regional peace, security and stability as well.

The new interim government of the Central African Republic, which has been established following the N’Djamena Summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on 9-10 January 2014, must therefore focus all its efforts to ensure the security of the entire civilian population, regardless of their faith or religious background, and reconcile all sides, restore social cohesion and avoid lasting resentment.

Reconciliation efforts will also help to ease the humanitarian crisis, as improvement in the security situation will make possible the unhindered access of aid to those in need.

It is of utmost importance that we ensure that all perpetrators of violence and murder, bordering on crimes against humanity, shall ultimately be held accountable.

Moreover, those who have the capacity and the mandate to intervene and stop these criminal actions, have the responsibility to act immediately and decisively.

To this end, the work of the International Commission of Inquiry, established by the UN Secretary-General as well as the Independent Expert on Human Rights, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in order to investigate reports of human rights violations, should be facilitated and supported by all.

Dear Colleagues,

The OIC is a responsible international body. And we, as members of the OIC, have to do whatever we can to ease the plight of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the midst of the African continent. We cannot leave these people to their destiny like orphans.

We have to encourage and help the interim Government of the Central African Republic to effectively protect its Muslim citizens and safeguard their places of worship, their mosques.

At this critical moment, our initiatives and concrete actions will send a strong and positive signal not only to the Central African people, but to the African continent as a whole and to the rest of the world.

Towards this end, we propose to establish an OIC fact-finding mission to the Central African Republic and also to appoint a special envoy.

Their objectives will be the following:

1) Analyze the concrete situation on the ground and contact all relevant parties in the country. The mission will then report to a follow-up meeting of the Executive Committee.

2) Increase the visibility of the OIC to strengthen the morale of the Muslim refugees.

3) Humanitarian assistance to the CAR and neighboring countries is very important. This can be included in the Action Plan.

4) Address the security issue on the ground.

5) Coordinate with the CAR authorities.

6) Coordinate with the neighbors of the CAR.

7) Coordinate with international organizations. The OIC Secretary-General is a very big asset for us in this regard.

An Action Plan to be prepared by the OIC has to include the political process in the country, humanitarian assistance and the security situation. This will give a good example for other OIC activities worldwide.

Turkey for its part, spares no effort to provide assistance in this regard. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) is currently organizing the delivery of humanitarian aid to refugees at the Chadian border. TIKA is also at the disposal of the OIC and is ready to cooperate with other agencies.

In the meantime, Turkey is sending a Special Representative and a humanitarian assessment team to Bangui next week, in order to elaborate how we can contribute effectively to the situation and what has to be done.

As a strategic partner of the African Continent, we believe that African matters should be addressed and resolved by Africans. In this respect, we welcome the efforts of the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) for their crucial and constructive roles in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Central African Republic.

We support a political transition, based on the road map which was laid out by the Economic Community of Central African States last year. Free, fair and transparent elections, to be held as soon as the situation in the Central African Republic turns to normal, is crucial.

We are working on our possible contribution to MISCA, the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic. We are also considering to participate in the European Union mission EUFOR CAR. We are ready to consult the OIC in this regard.

I would like to reiterate that Turkey will strongly support and participate in any initiative toward solving the crisis at hand in the Central African Republic.

Thank you.