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Statement by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Valentin Rybakov on the Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (September 19, 2016, Venezuela)

Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am greatly pleased and honored to address the XVII Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. First and foremost, I would like to extend many thanks to the Islamic Republic of Iran for guiding the Movement over the last three years so effectively. Furthermore, I would like to congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for taking over the Chairmanship and wish it success in carrying out this noble mission.

Mr. Chairman,

The Non-Aligned Movement was born in a period of strategic superpower confrontation. The Movement’s purpose was to demonstrate that a non-confrontational path for the world was possible.

Those days are gone for good, while the Non-Aligned Movement, for two a half decades already, has been in search of its proper place in an emerging international system.

Have we found that place? I think the answer cannot be a straightforward “yes” or “no”. It is rather complicated.

It is a fair reflection of the current international conjuncture that is also far more complicated than the Cold War context. The types of threats faced by Non-Aligned countries back then were crystal-clear. So was our task – to avoid taking sides and hold fast to the third path.

Today, it is not so clear. The world has been in a period of rudderless transition to an order whose outlines are still in the making. What is more, we have been facing an array of mounting global challenges in addition to experiencing multiple types of destabilization.

So, our task at finding a role and place befitting the Movement in the future is to continue.

It is a daunting task. After all, we have to bear in mind that a very large part of the population in today’s world was born after the end of the Cold War, during the so-called “Information Age”. This younger generation may neither be aware of the post- World War II political configurations that gave rise to the NAM’s advent on the world scene nor understand the rationale for its existence today.

Therefore, we must prove to the current global generation that we are as relevant today as we were more than half a century ago, because in the contemporary world the Non-aligned countries still have an important mission to accomplish.

What is our mission?

No longer threatened by the bipolar rivalry, we face other challenges such as the uneven globalization, neo-colonialist policies, as well as ever-rising transnational threats.

We believe that the Non-aligned Movement will be able to cope with them only if all of its Member States continue to hold fast to the Purposes and Principles that have passed the test of time. We have learned how to live in diversity among ourselves. We can share with the rest of the world the benefits of our non-violent and diverse vision for the globe.

Therefore, the NAM’s mission, as we see it, is to continue to be the “consciousness of mankind” as one of the Movement’s Founding Fathers – President Broz Tito – once pointedly described it.

For fifty five years the Non-Aligned Movement has held the high moral ground in world politics. We must do whatever it takes to preserve this honorable position. It is in the interests of the Non-aligned countries. What is more, it is in the interests of the whole world.

In conclusion, I would like to refer to the statement of the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan delivered yesterday, in which the Minister extended a kind invitation to attend the next NAM Summit in 2019 in Baku. We are very pleased that Europe, which held the first Summit in 1961, will again assume a prominent role in the Movement.

Thank you for your kind attention.