Syed Hamid: Side events can help boost NAM's image

  • Nation
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2003


PUTRAJAYA: Organising other activities such as forums and seminars on the sidelines of the 13th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will bring it into better global focus. 

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said functions such as the NAM Business Forum and non-governmental organisation-related activities like seminars on the role of women in NAM member countries and world peace could also bring about more awareness of what the grouping could achieve together. 

“Malaysia, as the host, is not only organising the NAM meeting, but other activities in politics, trade and social development for the first time. 

“This will attract world attention to the abilities of NAM and ultimately, bring benefits to its members,” he told reporters after distributing sacrificial meat to staff of the Foreign Ministry yesterday. 

Similarly, said Syed Hamid, institutionalising the existence of NAM by establishing a permanent secretariat would make it easier for the grouping, which comprised 114 member countries, to interact with other regional and sub-regional groupings. 

Membership of NAM is currently two-thirds that of the United Nations. 

“If we are satisfied that such a concept is workable, the presence of a secretariat would be important in ensuring the continuity and monitoring of NAM activities. 

“It will also help us articulate the viewpoints of Third World countries more effectively should we have permanent divisions to deal with education and trade issues within NAM, and better protect our mutual interests,” said Syed Hamid. 

The establishment of a permanent secretariat for NAM was hotly debated during a meeting of key NAM members in Cape Town, South Africa last year. 

Malaysia subsequently announced the setting up of a division in Wisma Putra to deal with the issues of NAM as a test bed for such a secretariat. 

On reports that Malaysia would take the initiative to call for an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in a bid to halt war on Iraq, Syed Hamid said only Qatar, as the current OIC chairman, had the power to do so. 

“We are not the OIC chairman and we cannot simply call for an emergency meeting because there are procedures member countries have to adhere to.” 

Syed Hamid, however, said Malaysia was willing to extend OIC the space and facilities to do so.  

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