KUALA LUMPUR: The Non-Aligned Movement has been told it must continue to speak out and play a role as the champion of the weak, the powerless and the disenfranchised amidst the dominance of the rich and powerful.
NAM cannot afford to fail and let down the expectations of its members at a time when the world is facing many challenges, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said yesterday.
“Due to the globalised world and the increase in interdependence and complexity in international relations, the challenges are now even more intricate and potentially more divisive than in the past,” he said.
As one of the two important groupings of developing countries, the 114-member NAM must continue to present a united and cohesive front to the international community, he added.
For example, Syed Hamid said, many of the inter-state conflicts of the past had increasingly been replaced by intra-state conflicts as the greatest threat to security.
“This is evidenced by the explosion of ethnic conflicts in many regions,” he said when opening the NAM senior officials meeting (SOM) at the Putra World Trade Centre.
Syed Hamid said: “The challenge for NAM would be one of putting our own house in order so as to avoid interference from the rich and powerful who do so in pursuit of their own agendas.”
At the same time, he said, the concept of sovereignty for many states was being undermined by a number of factors, especially when so many developing countries had to bear the brunt of the negative effects of globalisation.
“Virtually all of us are indebted in varying degrees to the rich, either directly or through institutions and agencies which they control.
“Very often, we have to swallow our national pride and put ourselves under their direction or ‘tutelage’. Those who do not do so are castigated as pariahs,” he added.
NAM, Syed Hamid said, must continue to be in the forefront of the fight against racism.
“It would seem that the fight against terrorism has brought out the worst racist impulses in these countries, which is now manifested in their policies established after Sept 11, including those which can be considered as racial profiling.
“We are also greatly concerned that political parties whose ideologies are based on doctrines of racial superiority, racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness have made significant inroads in many countries.
“Our movement should continue to condemn these ideologies as being incompatible not only with democracy and good governance, but as an affront to human civilisation itself,” Syed Hamid added.
The meeting saw the handing over of the NAM senior officials meeting chairmanship from South African Foreign Ministry Director-General Ab-dul Samad Minty to Wisma Putra Secretary-General Datuk Ahmad Fuzi Razak.
At a press conference later, Syed Hamid said the NAM Summit was not convened for the purpose of discussing the Iraqi crisis.
“Let us be clear on the purpose of NAM,” he said, adding that this NAM meeting was to revitalise the movement.
In this respect, he said there was no separate committee to discuss the Iraq crisis.
“What we have is a working group to discuss the current situation,” he said.
However, he stressed that NAM was duty-bound to voice its opinion to show its commitment to global peace.
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