By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
CONAKRY, Guinea -- Guyana and Suriname are expected to participate in 40th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers meeting, which begins Monday in Conakry, Guinea, under the theme: Dialogue of Civilizations: Factor of Peace and Sustainable Development.
The foreign minister of Guyana, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett , who was in Indonesia last week to attend the ninth World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting, will be in Conakry to attend the OIC meeting. Dr Anwar S. Lall Mohamed, ambassador-at-large and coordinator of OIC affairs, will represent Suriname on behalf of foreign minister Winston Lackin, who is in South Africa.
There will be a special ministerial session on the city of Jerusalem “to seek practical steps towards addressing the Israeli policies and plans aimed at Judaising the Holy City and dividing Al Aqsa Mosque,” according to an OIC press statement.
The agenda will also focus on the conflict in Syria, the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma after the recent visit of a ministerial delegation to Myanmar, the Moro Muslims in the southern Philippines, the establishment of new OIC regional offices in non-member states, and the appointment of assistant secretaries-general.
The OIC foreign ministers will also address Islamophobia, humanitarian affairs, economic affairs, science and technology, cultural and social affairs and family.
In engaging the OIC and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) more robustly, the Bouterse administration in Suriname, when it took office in 2010, reactivated ties with the OIC. President Desi Bouterse extended an invitation to the OIC Secretary General, Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to visit Suriname, and during that visit offered to host an OIC office in Paramaribo, which would be the first in the Americas.
The OIC, through the IsDB, will soon fund various projects in Suriname to the tune of over $100 million under the interim member country partnership strategy (MCPS) for Suriname. The IsDB will support Suriname in four areas: healthcare services, skills development and vocational training, sea transportation and institutional capacity-building, including cyber security.
The IsDB is currently processing two projects with a contribution of US$68 million under this interim MCPS, while the other projects are under discussion and in the preparation stage, according to a release press release by the Central Bank of Suriname during the recent visit of Birama Boubacar Sidibe, vice-president of operations of the IsDB.