Statement by His Excellency Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Mr. Sergei F. Aleinik at the XVI Ministerial conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (May 2011, Bali)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have gathered these days against the background of Movement’s half-centennial anniversary in an attempt to outline NAM’s long-term future. The task is not an easy one. After all, global developments, especially of such length as five decades, cannot be subject to precise prediction.
Indeed, hardly any of our Founding Fathers could have foreseen at the NAM First Conference held back in Belgrade in 1961 a kind of the world we are inhabiting half a century later.
In trying to define a shared vision of the Movement for the next fifty years, we must first ask ourselves: “What has sustained NAM over the past five decades?”
Our gathering came into life because fifty years ago independent developing countries refused to embrace the harsh “philosophy” of the Cold War, which offered them only two mutually excluding paths of development.
Instead, these countries proved that a third way was possible, the one that put a premium on peaceful coexistence, co-operation and respect for the diversity of various types of governance.
True, throughout the past fifty years the Non-Aligned countries have not always seen eye to eye on many world problems and challenges. It was only natural in such a large gathering of countries as ours. Yet what has held the Movement together over so long period of time is the firm adherence of its Participating States to the NAM’s Founding Principles – self-determination, sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs of other states, to name but a few.
Today the world is at the gates of a major geo-political shift towards a truly global multipolar order. This trend is generally favourable to the Movement.
We think that the frame of this emerging order may be somewhat visible. As many argue, it is likely to be a world steered by multiple power centers rather than by a few great powers as was mainly the case in the past. Yet, the character of a future world is far from being clear. Will it be a world conducive to peace and economic prosperity? Or will it be a divided and unstable environment?
Belarus is confident that the Non-Aligned Movement can do much to make the world look the way it wants it to look fifty years from now. However, if we do nothing or fail in this effort, we may well be consigned to irrelevance.
So, what might be done?
We believe in the wisdom of consistent long-term action along the following three major tracks, which to a certain extent find their reflection in our Outcome document.
First, action is desirable at the structural level. It is about the way the Movement reaches out to others in the world. Belarus thinks that NAM can and must become a permanent participant in the so-called global “variable geometry”, which calls for active interaction with the existing and emerging power centers and other global stakeholders. We have no right to exclude ourselves from this kind of “Multi-Alignment” process.
Certain work is underway here and Belarus would like to praise the NAM Chair and Troika for their efforts in this regard. Taking this opportunity our delegation would like in addition to commend the NAM Troika for its every-day hard work aimed at the implementation of our strategic documents.
Second, as Belarus often said before, we see the need for action at the functional level. In other words, we call for Movement’s active involvement in addressing specific global functional problems like poverty, food security, climate change, terrorism, human trafficking. The best way to do this is through the tool of global partnerships, which bring together states, international organizations, civil society and private sector. A good example of how to proceed here is the area of human trafficking. In 2005 Belarus took the lead in this field by proposing to establish a Global Partnership against Slavery and Human Trafficking. Today this initiative became a reality as it was institutionalized last year with the adoption of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. By way of another example, the Philippines took the lead on interreligious dialogue.
Therefore, we see the need for the Movement and its individual members to contribute to the establishment of similar global partnerships in other areas. Belarus, in turn, stands ready to make specific proposals on partnerships related to energy and youth.
Finally, action seems to be required from the Movement at the level of principles. We share the view that there are real reasons for concern here. Indeed, these days we witness how some of our Participating States in the Middle East and Northern Africa fall victim to the interference in their internal affairs by Western powers. After all, the roots for current disturbances in this regions are clearly related to the uneven pace of globalization and failed development and governance policies. These challenges cannot be resolved through interference and bombing.
In this regard it very much grieves us to say that the Non-Aligned countries failed short of demonstrating their traditional unity and solidarity with their fellow members in distress. If we are to stay true to our principles, we must recognize that whatever happens inside those states is their own internal affair. Our obligation is to give them humanitarian and moral support, to mediate, if necessary, in order to achieve the peaceful settlement of conflicts.
For Belarus the issues of NAM’s unity and solidarity are not shallow words, because we too recently came under West’s political and economic assault for making a choice at the December 2010 Presidential election that did not fit some in the West. Notwithstanding, the Belarusian people will stand by the choice they made hoping that their Non-Aligned partners will never abandon them.
In conclusion let me thank the Government of Indonesia for hosting the Ministerial Meeting. I would also like to wish the current Chair of NAM successful completion of its tenure, and express hope that future Chairs will spare no efforts in advancing our shared vision for the future.