Kuwait handed over formally its 16-month long chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the Republic of Uzbekistan in an ambassadorial group meeting late Wednesday.
Kuwait's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi extended his gratitude and appreciation to the people and government of Uzbekistan for having successfully hosted the 43rd Council of Foreign Ministers and congratulated them on receiving the Chairmanship of the OIC Group.
"I have no doubt that their Chairmanship will be one that reinforces our Islamic solidarity," Al-Otaibi said in a speech delivered in this occasion.
Stemming from Kuwait's strong belief of the need to reinforce the Islamic solidarity and unity, Al-Otaibi said the aim throughout the Chairmanship was to ensure that the OIC Group stood united and coordinated in its actions and positions at the UN.
Kuwait did its utmost to address the issues that were of significant importance to the OIC, most notably the Palestinian cause, which is and will remain the top priority of the Group.
The Kuwaiti official said in his speech that he was truly honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to chair the OIC Group in New York - a group consisting of 57 member states making up almost a third of the membership of the UN - appreciating all the support received during Kuwait's chairmanship.
Over the course of these 16 months, Kuwait in its capacity as Chair delivered 15 speeches, addressed the Security Council a total of 11 times, with the most senior level was at the ministerial level being Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who addressed the Security Council on behalf of the OIC on September 30, 2015.
Of the 11 times Kuwait addressed the Security Council, six of those times were during the Open Debate discussions on the Middle East and the Question of Palestine. In the UN General Assembly, Kuwait delivered a total of four speeches on behalf of the OIC Group.
In his speech, Al-Otaibi said the ambassadorial-level meetings "were a venue to coordinate our positions as a group and a forum to engage in discussions on a diverse number of issues of importance and relevance to our Member States; from Palestine to the Rohingya to the Central African Republic." The meetings, he added, were also very much sought after by countries and officials who requested to meet with the Permanent Representatives of the OIC Group and brief on things that were of mutual importance.
Briefers included Ministers, UN Secretary General candidates, Security Council candidates, and Special envoys to name but a few. In total, the State of Kuwait chaired 11 Ambassadorial-level meetings.
The group circulated during Kuwait's chairmanship over 60 note verbals to OIC Member States, and delivered seven letters addressed to the UN Secretary General on behalf of the OIC Group. Furthermore, Kuwait ensured that the voice of the OIC was heard during the informal dialogues with the candidates for the position of Secretary General, whereby they raised issues such as Islamophobia, terrorism and extremism.
More activities and efforts were demonstrated during Kuwait's tenure, but most noticeable are the three ministerial-level meeting of the OIC held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
One was as an Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting on the Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and two were the Annual Coordination Meetings. In both Annual Coordination Meetings, Kuwait was successful in issuing a Chair's summary consisting of the main issues of relevance to the OIC on the agenda of the UN.