The Honorable Sidibe to the “PUIC”:

- Important Challenges Facing Muslims
- Marshall Plan needed to help the poor
- PUIC is Mechanism for Parliamentary Diplomacy
- Extremism, Terrorism, Palestine and Socio-Economic Development are Major Challenges
- Necessity of Marshall Plan to Combat Poverty in Muslim Countries
- Democracy is the Corner-stone of Development
- Campaign to Fight Desertification
- Terrorism and Extremism a Global Reality
- Acceptance of the other is Backbone of Dialogue

PUIC Bulletin No.20 Winter 2017

anm 63608931417558
The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mali, His Excellency Issaka Sidibe, identified the most important challenges facing Muslims and the world at large. He pointed out that the fight against those who tarnish the image of Islam must be carried out on military, media and ideological levels. In the area of Islamic solidarity he envisaged a Marshall Plan where rich OIC countries can help poor Muslim countries shake off the shackles of poverty and destitution. He also stated that the PUIC is a mechanism for parliamentary democracy that enhances the role of peoples in international relations. Regarding cultural and religious dialogue Mr. Issaka Sidibe stressed putting and end to stereotyping and to accept the other despite differences.

Introduction:
Honorable Issaka Sidibe, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mali highlighted in his interview with the “PUIC” current issues of crucial concern to the Islamic world, in particular, and contemporary world, in general. His Excellency indentified the most immanent challenges facing Muslims today and called for more proactive parliamentary democracy and collective action against the common enemy. He also called for a Marshall Plan by rich OIC Countries to pull poor Muslims out of the abyss of poverty and destitution.
Mr. Sibide stressed that the new world economic order that ought to seek the preservation of the ecosystem for the survival of Mankind. He underscored the imperative of putting an end to stereotyping, and valued the acceptance of the other with its cultural and religious differences.
Following is the test of the interview:

Facing the Challenges:
“PUIC”: The Islamic World is currently faced with critical challenges. Can these be identified in order of importance, and how can Muslims effectively confront them?
Speaker: Beyond the nations and the Muslim world, the world is facing unprecedented major challenges. The first challenge, in my opinion, is religious fundamentalism, whoever uses Islam to commit reprehensible acts. We all know its consequences for our religion. It tarnishes in many ways the image of Islam. Therefore, within the PUIC, we must overcome the degrading image that some want to give to our religion and project a positive image of Islam. This combat can be carried out on several levels: military, media and ideological. Above all, it is a matter of avoiding the wicked linkage between the actions of these faithless killers, on the one hand and law and the principles of Islam, on the other. I am convinced that this challenge is within our reach, if we adopt a common approach of solidarity of the Islamic Umma.
The second challenge is terrorism, which feeds on fundamentalism on the basis of intolerance. Till now, terrorism has already cost the lives of thousands and even millions of people around the world. Recently, many Islamic countries have been victims of terrorism: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mali, Tunisia, etc.
Another challenge that I want to raise, is the situation of Palestine and its people. I believe that this situation should be at the center of PUIC’s concerns. We must seek and find solutions so that our brothers and sisters in Palestine can live peacefully in the land of their ancestors.
My last concern is the socio-economic development of our states. It is above all a fight against the poverty of people by ensuring their well-being. But all this will only be possible in an environment of peace and stability.
Faced with these challenges, the PUIC must invest more in proactive parliamentary diplomacy and more aggressive stance against the common enemy, which can only be defeated collectively. Whether we are parliamentarians from poor or rich, developed or developing countries, it is important that we act together for the welfare of the entire Muslim community.

Marshall Plan
“PUIC”: Islamic solidarity is a cherished goal long awaited by Muslim masses. Are you satisfied with what has been achieved in this respect so far? Do you envisage a roadmap to achieve this objective?
Speaker: The actions carried out in our countries under the banner of solidarity of the Islamic Umma are certainly significant, particularly in the construction of religious infrastructures such as mosques and in the humanitarian field. We hail this Islamic solidarity which brings much to the destitute populations of the Muslim community. It provides many people with access to food, water and health care. Above all, we want these interventions to continue and deepen, because let us not forget that extreme poverty is very often the bed of indoctrination and therefore of radicalism. However, there is no major development program for poor countries that are members of the PUIC. Ideally, the rich countries of the PUIC should embark on a genuine Marshall Plan that can help poor countries, particularly those in Africa, cope with the great economic crisis that the world is experiencing today. It is therefore suitable that the PUIC develop an economic and financial mechanism for major development projects in poor countries.

Establishing Democracy
“PUIC”: In your view, what role can parliaments play in establishing democratic principles and good governance in our counties?
Speaker: Democratic principles are based on their concrete application to the adoption of laws. Agree with me that this is the first mission of parliaments. They then monitor the implementation of laws through the monitoring of government action. This rigorous distribution of roles already in the constitution of many countries, such as Mali, allows parliaments to legislate and control government action, taking into account the interests of the population.
Through its mission of overseeing government action and the management of finance laws, Parliament ensures respect for good governance.

Parliamentary Democracy
“PUIC”: Parliamentary Democracy is gaining importance in international relations. What role can it play in shaping a new world order which is more fair and beneficial, especially for developing nations?
Speaker: Democracy is the sine qua non for the harmonious development of every nation. It enables us to take care of the legitimate aspirations of the people. Who better than Parliament can be the lever for the full participation of the people in fulfilling their aspirations for sustainable human development?
The new world economic order, for the survival of mankind, must have as its objective the preservation of our ecosystem, which implies the responsible participation of the people. The role and place of the peoples of the world in international relations is strengthened by parliamentary democracy, cooperation among parliaments around the world through mechanisms such as the PUIC.
In its conception, parliamentary democracy establishes equality, freedom and justice. Unfortunately it is still under construction in many countries. But we as representatives of the people hope that in a few years, this much desired democracy will be a reality.

Economic Interdepemdence
Speaker: “PUIC”: How do you evaluate the action of the Economic Community of West African States (ECWAS) in addressing the most pressing issues of West African region?
Speaker: It should be remembered that West Africa has been engaged in a process of economic integration for more than forty years. This is reflected in a very great convergence of policies between the 15 States and eight best among them grouped within the West African Economic and Monetary Union share the same currency as the CFA F. In short, to say that beyond geography and history, these countries have established ties of economic interdependence, the basis of true regional integration. All that justifies the cohesion displayed in the fight against the scourges of terrorism, drug trafficking and so on. Beyond the economic and security agreements, the West African States also agree on the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. In short, one of the objectives of ECOWAS is to transform conflicts into strong development. For example, in Mali following the events of March 2012 and currently in Guinea Bissau and the Gambia, as part of the promotion of peace, ECOWAS observes zero tolerance of coup as a means of access and the exercise of power.

Fighting Desertification
“PUIC”: Climate change and desertification hamper socio-economic development in the African Sahel. What programmes are put in place to overcome such natural disasters, and how successful are such programmes?
Speaker: The fight against desertification and global warming has been one of the priorities of the Malian authorities for years. The programs implemented for this purpose are the Great Green Wall and the Natural Resources Management Project. The Malian government has also initiated a national campaign to raise awareness of the consequences of desertification and climate change. It is within this framework that reforestation actions have been launched by the Malian State with the support of NGOs and some partner countries.
This huge campaign, which is part of the fight against desertification and the harmful effects of climate change, is aimed at all the social strata of the Malian nation. But it is within educational institutions that the Malian authorities have intensified the awareness campaign. Thus every year thousands of trees are planted across the country.
Add to this the participation of Mali in international meetings on climate change: COP 21 in France and COP 22 in Morocco.

Evil Forces
“PUIC”: The war on terrorist and extremist groups in the region is continuing. How do you measure the current level of threat to stability and development as a result of these phenomena?
Speaker: As I said before, terrorism that is mingled with extremism is a global reality. However, for poor countries like those in the Sahel, the situation takes a particular importance given the weakness of the means of struggle and therefore of resistance. We have an obligation to commit the meager resources of our budgets to defend our territorial integrity.
I see that terrorism is slowly destroying the development efforts of our various states. Which country can today aspire to any stability, economic growth when the forces of evil roar around us and our projects, ready to strike at any moment? Our democracy is threatened and investors are suspicious. Even, fear and death have become the daily life of our peaceful populations.
It seems to me therefore more than necessary that within our organization we should redouble our efforts, especially in terms of cooperation, to overcome this phenomenon. We therefore call for unconditional support from the international community to provide our military and security forces with tactical and operational capabilities. Our priority today is to stop this asymmetrical war whose dimensions are far from being limited in the perimeter of the Sahel alone.

Acceptance of the Other
“PUIC”: Dialogue among cultures and religions is among the concerns of the PUIC. What, in your view, are the bases and conditions of such dialogue to make it meaningful and fruitful?
Speaker: This dialogue between cultures and religions is a permanent practice in international relations. Hence the greatest importance we attach to these gatherings between parliamentarians belonging to the OIC member nations. We believe that the first dialogue that will involve all the others is to bring people together, to organize meetings, to get together to discover and know each other better. We must put an end to stereotypes and misunderstandings which rot relations between races, beliefs around the world. The acceptance of the other with its differences and its cultural bases must be the backbone of a genuine dialogue between cultures and religions. And that is the whole purpose of the PUIC, which, through the meeting of parliamentarians, goes to meet other nations of different cultures but sharing Islam.
We are thus satisfied in Mali of the choice made on our country to host the next conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States. Come to us, the Malian population welcomes you in the greatest hospitality worthy of our venerated religion that is Islam.