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Statement by Sergei Martynov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, at the 15th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, 16 July 2009)

Over the decades the Non-Aligned Movement has been promoting the idea of building a just multi-polar world. This idea is natural as it stems from the very logic of evolution of the human society and the world economy. In all probability, we might have avoided the current multifaceted crisis had the world community appreciated this idea some time ago. Unfortunately, it did not happen.

Yet today it does not make sense to go witch-hunting and place the blame on individual countries or political groupings for the failures and setbacks of the recent past for which they may be primarily responsible. Today we find it more productive to focus on the good intentions of the leaders of these countries and groupings that give us hope – modest and cautious, but hope all the same. We think that the currently fashionable trend of resetting bilateral relations could well apply to NAM and help the rest of the world appreciate anew the value of the collective activity of almost two thirds of the countries of the world united in the Movement.

As any dialectical unity of the outgoing and the new, the current crisis brings with it a unique opportunity for the establishment of a new mode of global relations based on fair and responsible cooperation. For this opportunity not to be missed, good words will have to be supported with decisive steps towards dialogue and rapprochement. It is a predicament of the strong-willed to be the first to act. NAM has nurtured this will in the decades-long struggle for a more just, free and sustainable world order. NAM does not have to wait for the world political or economic weather to improve and should not wait before it acts. NAM can draw out its world partners to a new level of engagement, understanding and cooperation today.

Today it is more evident than ever that no single power or even a group of powerful states – no matter how much resourceful – can deal with global challenges alone. There is no alternative today to resolving the global crises by coordinated actions of the entire international community.

To this end Belarus proposes to intensify interaction of NAM with the recognised centres of world economic and political power outside of the Movement in order to revitalise the world economy and stabilise the international situation. We believe that this engagement of NAM with other major centres of world power should become more focused – more focused and effective than before.

This idea is hardly revolutionary. It is based on the provisions contained in major Non-Aligned Movement documents regarding the strengthening of cooperation with developed countries. It also logically follows from any serious analysis of the current international situation.

The time has come when a new economic order, about which we have been talking since the very establishment of our Movement, may at long last become a reality. But for this to happen it is important to work towards building a more constructive and trusting relationship between the countries of the South and the North – starting with the most pressing challenges of the global economy revival, development and climate change.

NAMhas the will, the strength and the ability to be a critical agent of change and play a key role in this endeavour. Belarus suggests to start this process by initiating a sustained multilateral dialogue of NAM with China, the European Union, Russia and the United States at the highest possible level. An open-door policy of the NAM could serve as an instrument of implementation of this idea. This policy should provide for organising and encouraging participation in our summits and ministerial meetings of leaders and high officials of major world powers and international integration associations of states that are not members of NAM. Further along the road we may envision a bolder idea of holding a special thematic summit meeting on the development of cooperation of NAM with China, the European Union, Russia and the United States.

An improved dialogue and engagement of a new intensity called for by Belarus should, of course, be a ‘street with a two-way traffic’. In response to our openness and readiness for cooperation NAM has all the grounds to expect the same constructive collaborative approach on the part of our partners. We are convinced that for the success of any multilateral effort, not least in the frameworks of G8 and G20, it is essential that collective concerns, ideas and voice of NAM are clearly heard and acted upon.

Only through this close and mutually respectful cooperation of developing and developed countries we could rally the necessary energy to move in decisive strides towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the elimination of protectionism and harmful imbalance in international trade, the bridging of a widening technological gap between the South and the North and many other aspirations cherished by the members of the Movement.

It goes without saying that this is a strategic and long-term idea. It cannot be implemented overnight. Yet we are confident that this is the way the Movement may and should choose to go.

A half-centennial history of the Non-Aligned Movement is the best evidence of the power of the Movement’s founding principles. We believe that the future and well being of the world are directly dependent on the recognition and appreciation by the entire international community of the value of these principles. We hope that the NAM principles and values – not because of our numerical strength but because of their relevance and justice – can have a larger than NAM authority and application.

Through our well thought out initiatives and concerted action in the interests of all we can make this hope become a reality.

It may seem like a dream, but we believe that one day we may witness a transition from the Non-Aligned Movement to the Non-Aligned World – the world not aligned with violence, intimidation, fear, bigotry, haughtiness, intolerance and hypocrisy.

It may seem like a dream, but we know that the right political dreams can and do become reality. And it is a right dream. Let us work to make it happen.

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