Sergey Lavrov’s message to the 42nd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Speaking ahead of the 42nd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), I’d like to share with you some of Russia’s views on current developments in the Islamic world, which we have been closely monitoring.
It is regrettable that destabilising trends have been increasing. The crises in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen have deteriorated into fratricidal conflicts, in which an increasing number of regional countries are becoming involved. These conflicts have resulted in the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people, economic desolation and the collapse of statehood and law and order.
These developments are playing into the hands of extremists and terrorists, who have far-reaching ambitions. They are joining forces, seizing large territories, and claiming the role of the ultimate arbiters in the Islamic world. The terrorist groups that are operating in Iraq, Syria and several African countries are guilty of abominable crimes, including the persecution and extermination of people of other faiths, notably Christians.
We believe that the situation in Yemen, which has grown from clashes between the warring sides into a large-scale military conflict, and the reaction of the countries of the region to this, are evidence of the start of a regional confrontation between the adherents of Sunni and Shiite Islam. A combination of interfaith tensions and geopolitical confrontations is increasing the intensity and duration of crises. Therefore, while working to bring about a peace settlement in various countries of the Middle East and North Africa, it is also necessary to take active measures to prevent differences between Sunnis and Shia from becoming uncontrollable.
We hope that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which was created to strengthen the unity and solidarity of Muslim nations, will propose emergency measures to restore trust and mutual understanding between different branches of Islam, and will mobilise the vast potential of Islamic religious leaders and social forces towards this goal.
For our part, we are willing to provide comprehensive assistance to these efforts in the interests of further promoting the traditional relations of friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Russia and Islamic countries, as well as in the interests of peace, stability and prosperity of our nations.
Moscow, May 27, 2015