Thursday, March 20, 2008

OIC Summit and Dakar Declaration

The declaration produced at the end of the Organization for the Islamic Conference summit in Dakar, Senegal, had a good deal to say about UN Security Council resolutions.

The Leaders of Muslim countries hereby renew their pledge to preserve world peace and security, one of the OIC's objectives, and thus to fully adhere to the United Nations' key mission in this regard as well as international legality as a rule for all without any political double standards.

This is the reason why we proclaim, once again, our resolve to make sure that the Ummah's entire causes prevail in accordance with resolutions adopted in this regard by the Islamic Conference and the United Nations.

From this standpoint, in order to ensure just and lasting peace in the Middle East, we reaffirm solemnly the need to comply with all Security Council resolutions on Al Quds, an issue for which the OIC was established, and on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state within internationally guaranteed borders.

Given this emphasis on the importance of UN resolutions, perhaps it was not surprising that the declaration makes no mention of Kosovo.

Americans seem surprised about the lack of formal recognition from most Arab and Muslim countries. The crux of the issue was summed up by an Indonesian who noted that his country--and many others--had no problem with the idea of an independent Kosovo or even with eventual recognition--but their reaction was guided by the manner in which it had come about.

Kosovo was discussed at the summit and on its sidelines, but perhaps in one direction that Washington may also not have anticipated: Kashmir. The leader of the Kashmiri delegation to the summit, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, noted:

The recent declaration of independence by Kosovo is like a whiff of fresh air... We welcome this new member nation and hope that entire international community in general and the OIC in particular will stand in solidarity with the people of Kosovo. The people of Kashmir stand encouraged by this historic development.

(But Pakistani Foreign Minister Inam-ul Haque did stress that any final settlement on Kashmir would have to be mutually acceptable to all parties).

The Indian Foreign Ministry responded, "The OIC has no locus standi in matters concerning India's internal affairs, including Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. We strongly reject all such comments ..."

Many Islamic-majority countries will probably end up recognizing Kosovo at some point--although they may also hesitate given the strong emphasis of many Kosovars of their secular, European identity as opposed to an Islamic one. But if and when they do, they may add caveats about possible precedents--not really caring what U.S. and European diplomats once again said at the Brussels Forum last week--that could create headaches for the U.S. down the line and which Washington still seems unprepared to deal with.

Nick, I disagree with you in general about Kosovo--I think what has happened was the best option amidst a group of bad solutions--and I think it is in Europe's best interests in the long run.

I will agree with you, though, that the US should never have tried to sell this as a positive with the Muslim world or tell Americans that we would get points with Muslim countries for doing this. So I think that the US script should be simple: this is a European matter only.
Nick, I think the Indonesian hit it on the head. Most countries will recognize, at some point. What they don't want to do is rush to give the US legitimacy.
conservative realist:

Kosovo from the start was a US project, EU was like Igor to Dr. Frankenstein. Note that the first inkling of US plans were in the very public warnings of G.H.W. Bush to Yugoslavia on Kosovo.

What I do not understand is what did you guys get for that? Warum?
I mean, do you not have enough enemies in the world? Why add Serbs to it?

And then create a failed narco state in the Balkans? Are you deranged?

Don't many predominently Moslem states have all sorts of religious, sectarian, tribal and cultural divides that are analogous to the situation in Kosovo? Just because they're Muslims doesn't mean that they don't have the same kind of concerns that states like Spain and Greece have.

Sidebar: What has amazed me is the speed with which the Japanese government recognized Kosovo. It did say that it was going in that direction; that should have been enough for the time being. Why did it have to be 26th state to do so, before the G-8 Summit? I see no diplomatic benefits accruing there.
jun okumura:

Japan is a semi-sovereign state; she will do what US tells her to do.
I think in many parts of Asia and Africa and even Latin America there is worry about playing into the hands of a US "coalition of willing" approach that could be used to again justify bypassing UN. But over time there will be more recognitions based on reality of existence of Kosova.
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