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How can Gambia make a difference as the new OIC Chair?

I’d like to extend my congratulations to the Government and people of Gambia for hosting the 15th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit, despite the logistical challenges that led to the postponement of the Summit at least three times. It’s a proud moment for every patriotic citizen that our country has played host to the world’s second-largest gathering despite our small size and limited resources.

With President Adama Barrow appointed as the new OIC Chairman for the upcoming three years, it is crucial for the Gambia to take action and ensure that the communique issued during the event is implemented. As the new chairman, the Gambia holds significant diplomatic power, which should be used to unite the Muslim community and support Gaza’s people. These people have been under constant bombardment and famine for almost seven months, leading to the loss of over 30,000 lives and counting.

The OIC was established after the arson attack against Al-Aqsa Mosque, and it is necessary to match the words outlined in the communique with concrete actions to end the long-standing suffering of the Palestinians. The communique has emphasized the issue of Islamophobia, which needs to be addressed by the new OIC chairman. Muslims are facing unjust discrimination solely because of their faith. The matter is so grave that the UN has designated March 15 as Islamophobia Day. The Gambia also needs to leverage its new role to galvanize support for Africa’s economic development.

In his opening remarks, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, emphasized the importance of restructuring the OIC. The organization needs to modernize by re-evaluating its objectives and focusing on the economic growth of its member states. This is especially crucial for the African continent to bring stability to violence-plagued countries, particularly in the Sahel region. Experts argue that the violence in these areas is largely due to economic hardships.

The Gambia’s top diplomat, Dr. Momodou Tangara, is reportedly interested in the position of Commonwealth Secretary-General. In light of this development, President Adama Barrow, who referred to himself as the “new OIC Driver” during the press conference held at the closing ceremony, will need to appoint an experienced and effective diplomat to help the country reach its end goal as the new OIC chair. Gambia’s diplomacy possesses a unique and rare opportunity to make a significant positive impact on the global stage during its three-year tenure.

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