The first summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on science and technology was organized in accordance at the proposal of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the XIII Summit of the OIC in Istanbul last April. At the summit in Astana on September 10, about 80 delegates from state and government ministers, science and technology ministers of 57 countries, observer countries, as well as international organizations attended the summit. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev also attended the summit.
Speaking at the opening session of the summit, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted with regret that recently the Islamic Ummah has been facing hardships such as spread of extremist and terrorist organizations in Muslim countries, adding that Islamic countries suffered more from these problems. At the same time, it leads to increased Islamophobic tendencies in Western countries, as well as violence against Muslims. Stating that the mass violence against Muslims in Myanmar is a serious concern in Islamic countries, the Kazakh President stressed the importance of solving the problem on the basis of the UN Basic Principles. Nursultan Nazarbayev also emphasized the importance of establishing an international forum in the format of G-20 for the development of science and technology in the Islamic countries, stressing the importance of establishing effective cooperation with the Western countries in this area and highlighting the importance of such summits in the Astana Summit, he expressed his confidence in the development of cooperation in the Islamic world.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized the significance of the summit on the development of science and technology in Islamic countries, which plays an increasingly important role in the development of society in modern times. Noting that Turkey pays special attention to the development of science and technology in recent years and the implementation of important programs and activities, he stated that 9500 students from ECO member states study in the country. Speaking about the recent developments in the Islamic world, the need for further strengthening of cooperation between Muslim countries, the President of Turkey stressed the importance of political support for the initiatives aimed at developing science and technology.
The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, expressed his satisfaction for being back in the Kazakh land and praised the holding of the first OIC Science and Technology Summit. He pointed out that Azerbaijan was an active member of the OIC. He noted that in the past few years about 10 meetings of foreign ministers of foreign countries, culture, tourism, education, labor and other OIC member states were held in Azerbaijan:"We actively cooperate with the member states both in bilateral format and within international organizations. Azerbaijan always supports Muslim countries in international organizations. The OIC also provides great support to Azerbaijan and highly regards the policy pursued by our country. The OIC has always held a fair stance supporting the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders and adopted many resolutions that reflect the just position of Azerbaijan. Last year, the OIC summit in Turkey established a Contact Group on the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan. We highly appreciate this decision and express our gratitude to OIC and its members for this just position".
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reminded that the UN Security Council had adopted four resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He noted that these resolutions demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories: "Armenia does not implement these resolutions and no sanctions are imposed on them. This is double standard. Armenia has been in occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other seven regions of Azerbaijan for more than 25 years. As a result of this aggression, 20 percent of our territory have been occupied, more than one million Azerbaijanis live in their homeland as refugees and IDPs. Armenians have pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing against our people, and Armenia has committed military offenses. In 1992, Armenia committed the Khojaly genocide. As a result of this military offense, 613 innocent Azerbaijanis were brutally killed by Armenian fascists. Of these, 106 were women and 63 children. Thousands of people have been killed and wounded. Many countries have officially recognized Khojaly genocide".
The Azerbaijani leader said the Armenian aggression continues today. He noted that in July of this year, two-year-old Azerbaijani child died as a result of the missile thrown by Armenians, along with their grandmother: "This is brutality. This is yet another murder by Armenian fascism. Our mosques were destroyed in the occupied lands at the order of the Armenian leadership. The photos of the destroyed mosques of Shusha, Agdam and other cities are documented evidence of the Armenian vandalism. Islamophobia has reached its peak in Armenia. Armenia is working hard to expand its relations with various Muslim countries. Their hypocritical and lying words should not be believed. Armenia can not be the friend of Muslim countries when they are destroying our sacred mosques in Azerbaijan. In April last year, the Azerbaijani Army liberated some of our land from Armenian occupiers. We have created new settlements there. A school, a medical center and a mosque were built in Jojug Marjanli which consists of 150 houses. We built a mosque, very similar to the one destroyed in Shusha, in the newly-settled Jojug Merjanli. This once again demonstrates the invincible spirit of the Azerbaijani people and their commitment to their religious values. Armenians destroyed our mosques. However, these mosques have been erected in our hearts, and they cannot be destroyed".
President Ilham Aliyev also noted that Azerbaijan had made a significant contribution to the Islamic solidarity. He stated that our country was actively fighting Islamophobia in different parts of the world: "We strongly condemn the murders committed against Muslims, especially the massacres and mass violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar recently. We urge international organizations, the international community, political and religious leaders to take the appropriate steps to prevent the events in Myanmar. By the way, I want to note that on September 8, Azerbaijan sent humanitarian aid - 100 tons of food to Rohingya refugees. The year 2017 was declared the year of 'Islamic Solidarity' in Azerbaijan. At the same time, IV Islamic Solidarity Games was held in Azerbaijan this year, with more than 50 Muslim countries participating in the celebration of this magnificent friendship and brotherhood, I am sure that about three thousand athletes and thousands of guests left Baku with positive impression".
The Azerbaijani president said that our country is developing rapidly. He noted that over the past 14 years, Azerbaijan's gross domestic product has grown more than threefold: "In recent years, 1 million 600 thousand jobs have been created in Azerbaijan. Poverty fell to 5 percent. Literacy rate is about 100 percent. Science and modern technologies are successfully developing in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is one of the few members of the world's cosmic club".
The sessions on "The Role of Science and Technology in Sustainable Development", "Competitiveness and Innovation in Modern Economy", "Development of Science and Technology Cooperation" were held as part of the summit and discussions were had on issues such as the problems of poverty, hunger and unemployment in Muslim countries with rich natural resources, science, education, and technology,etc. At the end of the summit, the Astana Decleration, aimed at starting a political support for development of science and technology in the Islamic world, was signed.