BACKS PHILIPPINES BID FOR OBSERVER STATUS IN OIC
20-24 June 2005:
The Gambia has endorsed Philippines pending application for
observer status in the global bloc of Islamic countries, Foreign
Affairs minister Musa Gibriel Bala Gaye confirms. Gaye confirmed
on Monday, shortly after arrival in Manila, Philippines on a
three-day official visit there with President Jammeh.
SOS Gaye said that he personally gave the assurance that Gambia,
an influential member of the Organization of Islamic Conference
(OIC), will make representations in the OIC for the inclusion
of the Philippines as an observer.
Gambia’s support is a big boost for the Philippines bid
for observer status in the OIC since Gambia is the chairman
of the committee in the OIC, which handles the proposed restructuring
of the OIC.
The OIC is currently deliberating on a proposal that more stricter
qualifications be imposed on countries aspiring to join the
global bloc of Islamic countries.
The OIC is considering imposing stricter qualifications for
countries applying for membership, including qualifications
that the applying country have Islam as the predominant religion,
and that Muslims constitute the majority of a country’s
SOS Gaye is accompanying Gambian President Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh
who arrived in the Philippines last night for a three-day visit.
President Jammeh’s visit aims to improve economic relations
between the two countries, and create stronger ties between
the private sectors.
Meanwhile, Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary
Alberto Romulo has said that Yemen and Kuwait have expressed
support for the Philippines application for observer status
in the OIC as the Islamic bloc prepares for the 37th Foreign
ministers of the OIC this month in Yemen.
The Republic of the Philippines and Gambia share many concerns,
from securing continuing development, ensuring responsiveness
and representation in government, and promoting peace and interfaith-intercultural
understanding, commonalities that are expected to be made more
pronounced by the visit of President Jammeh, who is scheduled
to have discussions with government leaders, especially President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on bilateral concerns.
During the visit of The Gambian President, the two countries
will establish a mechanism for joint consultations on bilateral
as well as on regional and global issues of common concern.
The Gambian President Jammeh arrived at around 5 p.m. at Villamor
Air Base for his state visit to the Philippines from June 20
to 24 which will focus on establishing closer relations between
the Philippines and The Gambia.