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Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Sergei MARTYNOV at the Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Movement (20 September 2005, New York)

We, the Ministers of the Non-Aligned countries, have assembled in this hall at a crucial moment. Elated expectations and fanfare of the World Summit are just behind us. How much bright and inspiring do we find this morning after? How much mixed are our feelings in the aftermath of the summit?

I am afraid that the Reuters analysts were not too much off when the other day they described the applause in the General Assembly hall after the adoption of the outcome document as polite. This politeness was an anticlimax to what all of us went through as the document was being shaped.

Much could be said about the many pitfalls of the document. But, in my opinion, one negative high point of it was shedding NAM, our Movement, of its role. Just as we were led to be enchanted by the bright vision of a freer world, we were deprived of the essential the say in shaping the world, i.e. the only effective safeguard for the majority of nations in the UN to protect its interests.

Belarus does not have any magic recipes, as we speak now, for re-invigorating NAM, for making it matter. But we propose that the Movement make a concerted and conscious effort to come up with a vision and proposals how this goal should be achieved.

This, in our view, is a must. At stake is no less than the meaningful existence of NAM. At stake is even more: our shared values and interests as nations. We propose that the Chair together with interested delegations devise specific new proposals to this effect.

While we as the Movement are pondering the how and the what, it is extremely important that we start acting immediately in an old and tested way of getting things done - go out and do it.

Let us try it in standing for the rights of smaller and less powerful nations in the course of negotiation and decision-making process in the United Nations. Let us speak out and support those delegations of NAM members which do an honourable work of defending our interests.

Let us make sure that NAM plays the major role in bringing the world around to recognise that there is a whole diversity of ways of progressive development of nations. We should do it by building our interaction on the basis of recognition of this principle. We should also work together to introduce it more boldly into the UN environment through documents and resolutions.

We talk essentially about our readiness to stand up for our rights and ability to defend the defenceless, protect the unprotected, the vulnerable.

To illustrate the point let us take up a subject which figured prominently in the statements of Belarus and the United States, i.e. trafficking in human beings. The two countries have offered their specific perspective on this phenomenon. Both share the understanding of the need to combat this malign phenomenon. But then compare the clear distinction of the perspective offered. The United States believes that the greatest threats we face, including trafficking in human beings, emerge from within states. In other words, just as it has always been the weak, the poor and the unfortunate have to take the primary blame for the ills of this world.

Belarus does not think that it has to stay this way. We think that at the root of the problem is deprivation and abject poverty of the people who become the object of trafficking, of this despicable activity and the solvent demand for it in the rich countries. We propose to address all the roots and causes of the problem, including introducing responsibility of consumers of live commodity.

A great journey always starts with a small step. Let us find the will and the courage to implement in practice here in the General Assembly, in the Third Committee the agreed opposition of NAM to the targeting of individual countries on the grounds of alleged human rights misdemeanours.

Let us try to prove in deed that no pragmatic considerations of bilateral relations with the mighty, the rich and the powerful of todays world can override our belief in the ideas and ideals that have brought us together in this Movement.

If we forfeit the ideals, we will be doomed to forfeit the goal of development and well-being of our peoples.

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