NAM/FMM/GA58/Chair/Stmt./1

26 September 2003

 

 

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN, HON. SYED HAMID ALBAR,
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MALAYSOA
AT THE OPENING SESSION OF

T
HE MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT AT THE 58TH SESSION
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
 

NEW YORK, 26 SEPTEMBER 2003

 

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates, 

            Let me, first of all, welcome and thank you for attending this annual Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

            It was about seven months ago that we last met in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with the XIII NAM Summit.  We are meeting at a very challenging time for our Movement and the international community in general.  There is a great sense of unease and uncertainty among all of us about the future.  Recent events and developments have called into question many of the things we had taken for granted in the past.  Among these are respect for and adherence to the Charter of the United Nations, the role of the Organisation itself, adherence to international law and the future of multilateralism, among others.     

            The Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his address at the opening session of this General Assembly had himself addressed these issues and concerns. Given the similarity of our positions with those of the Secretary-General’s, it is incumbent upon us in NAM to strongly endorse his position on these issues and to strongly support him in his efforts to address them in the coming months.  I say this because the future and viability of the Movement are closely linked with those of the United Nations as both are important mechanisms and vehicles for the advancement of the multilateral process.  I think it would not an exaggeration for me to say that our Movement will swim or sink together with the United Nations; hence, the importance for the NAM and the UN to work together and to enhance our interaction with each other in the promotion of multilateralism, strengthening of international law and the advancement of the multifaceted goals of the international community, in our common interests.  

            Among others, three major developments in the past seven months have contributed to the sense of uncertainty about the future.  Firstly, the invasion of Iraq without the sanction of the UN Security Council and the resulting military occupation of that country.  Secondly, the derailing of the Road Map for the Middle East peace process upon which so much hopes and expectations have been pinned, bringing in its wake the continuing spiral of violence in that region. Thirdly, the devastating effects of terrorism affecting a number of our Member States.  All of these developments should be a pertinent reminder to us of the urgent need to further enhance our collective ability and resilience in protecting and safeguarding our interests.  

            Indeed, because of the importance of the issues that I have mentioned, it is the intention of the Chair to conduct our discussion of Agenda Item 4 on the “Exchange of views on issues of interest to the Non-Aligned Movement” in interactive session, following the successful interactive format we adopted last year.   In fact, I would like to recommend to Your Excellencies to fully partake in the Interactive Session and to spend less time in, or even refrain from, delivering prepared statements in the plenary – which could be circulated as read. 

            I trust that we would have a fruitful discussion of all the issues contained in our agenda today. 

Thank you.