Guyana and Suriname, the Western hemisphere’s only member- states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), will both send delegations to the horn of Africa next week to attend the 39th OIC Council of Foreign Minister (CFM) Conference which begins on November 15 in Djibouti.
 
Guyana’s ambassador to Kuwait, Dr. Odeen Ishmael will lead his country’s delegation to Djibouti.  Dr. Ishmael last addressed an OIC CFM meeting back in 2002 in Al-Khartoum, the Sudan. Prior to that, he was basically Guyana’s envoy to the OIC and addressed numerous OIC gatherings in Africa and Asia.  He will deliver Guyana’s first address to the CFM in Djibouti after a decade long absence from the forum.
 
Ms. Kitty Sweeb, Suriname’s second in command at its mission to the United Nations who participated in the last CFM meeting in Kazakhstan last year, will head her country’s delegation to Djibouti next week. 

Suriname has taken several major steps to consolidated OIC ties. More recently, Suriname paid all overdue funds to the OIC, invited the OIC Secretary General, Dr. Ihsanoglu to Paramaribo and plans to open an embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Suriname also has other ambitious plans to solidify ties with the OIC in an effort to drive its economic development.
 
It is expected that the 39th CFM will be dominated by several issues – the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar, Islamophobia, the Syria crisis, the Palestinian aspirations of statehood, the insurgency in Mali, poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, and the request for new membership by the Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Republic of Central Africa, Serbia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Philippines.
 
Both South American nations, with sizeable Muslim populations, joined the 57-member group of the OIC back in the 1990s to diversify political and economic ties. Both countries have recognized the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders. Suriname has strong historical bonds with Indonesia, the world largest Islamic nation. People of Indonesian origin make up about 15% of Suriname's population.