Lady Warsi's speech at OIC Foreign Ministers' conference
Categories: Latest News
Thursday June 30 2011
|Baroness Sayeeda Warsi this week delivered a speech at the Organisation for Islamic Conference’s Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, the first time a UK Minister has been invited to address the OIC.
Excerpts from Lady Warsi’s speech:
“We in Britain recognise the importance of building on our relationships with the Muslim world.
“And that is why we have appointed a new Special Representative to the OIC to be based in Jeddah.
“Our participation at this conference demonstrates that commitment. So thank you once again for giving us this opportunity.
“Today we share many global challenges: economic uncertainty; global security; climate change and the continuing need to help the poorest in the world.
“In today’s ever changing world, we can either face these challenges together, work together in unity with greater effectiveness, or as people we will grow apart.
“There are those that claim that the West is at war with Islam.
“Or that Islam has no place in the West. They claim Islam and Democracy do not mix, and will never mix.
“As a British Cabinet Minister, as a British Muslim…
“…as the daughter of immigrant, whose father came to the UK from Pakistan, who taught his children the value of education, who built a successful businesss…
“…as someone who crosses those so-called insurmountable divides…
“I am proud to say that nothing could be further from the truth.
“Your excellencies my story, the story of my country, the story of our actions overseas…
“… categorically sends a resounding “no” to those who talk about a “clash of civilisations”
“We face global challenges which we can be meet…
“… if we work together in partnership.
“A partnership based on trust, mutual respect and honesty.
“This year, will be remembered for the start of the Arab Spring.
“For an awakening across the region.
“In these uncertain times, the UK Government and the international community stands ready to work with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa in partnership…
“…to build a more stable and prosperous future for the region.
“Through our Arab Partnership, we will provide £110m to support political and economic reforms across the region.”
“Your excellencies, the security challenge we face in Afghanistan will require a long-term enduring Partnership.
“This partnership will require the contribution of ordinary Afghans, the contribution of regional allies, and the contribution of the international community.
“My guarantee to you is this. We will stay the course in Afghanistan.
“And although by 2015 UK forces will no longer be in a combat role or in the numbers they are now in Afghanistan…
“…but the UK remains committed to a strong, long term partnership with Afghanistan based on diplomacy, trade and development.
“Your Excellencies, this is a special time in history.
“In the past we have been accused of only pursuing “transactional relationships”. But, today let recognise we believe in “lasting friendships”.
“Let’s become strategic partners. Partners in trade. Partners in development. Partners in global security.”
Last year, foreign secretary William Hague announced the appointment of a British Special Representative to the OIC. Earlier this month the Government appointed Mohammed Shokat as the UK’s Special Envoy.