Online Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Statement by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena
Foreign Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Friday, 09 October 2020
Ladies and gentlemen,
Sri Lanka is pleased to participate at this meeting today. 2020 marks the 65th anniversary of the historic Bandung Conference which gave birth to the Non-Aligned Movement. As a founding Member of the NAM Sri Lanka has been honoured to see the Movement grow, participating in its deliberations over the years.
Sri Lanka reaffirms its commitments to the ten underlying principles of the Bandung Conference which serves as the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement and reflect the common challenges and goals.
The Bandung Conference and successive developments, emerging through these principles, united our countries to end colonialism, Opposing foreign intervention, aggression, foreign occupation, domination and to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity, while recognizing the equality of all nations, both large and small has been our commitment.
Today, the NAM comprises a near two-thirds of the Member States of the United Nations, and over half of the world’s population being the largest group of states having a pivotal role in ensuring and safeguarding the principles of multilateralism.
Upholding principles of sovereignty, Independence, Security, territorial integrity and non interference in the affairs of the States, are essential elements today for a peaceful world order. Therefore, we must preserve the very foundation of this Movement and continue to assist each other in solidarity.
Right now, the world is going through the greatest crisis in modern history, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to further exacerbating challenges to multilateralism. Unity, solidarity and reinvigorated commitment to multilateral cooperation is the need of the hour. The scale of our response should match the magnitude of this crisis.
The establishment of a NAM Task Force to address the need of members during this Pandemic has emphasized on the much needed collaborative leadership of the Movement. Sri Lanka reaffirms its cooperation in such efforts.
I am pleased to inform that, Sri Lanka has been successfully containing the spread of the virus with many proactive measures. A recovery rate above 90% in Sri Lanka is well above the global experience. We share our experience with the international community.
As the world progresses towards a sustainable therapeutic solution to COVID – 19, the movement must emphasis that all countries have unrestricted access to vital medical resources required to respond to this virus and that political motives do not impediment such access, that would undermine our collective commitment to the principles of this Movement as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development goals.
Sri Lanka is also concerned on the mounting debt crisis resulting in an economic fallout from the pandemic. Increased international financing and moratorium on debt are required for developing countries at this time of crisis.
While noting several initiatives taken to assist the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the Least Developed Countries, Land-Locked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, it is regrettable that the needs of the Middle Income Countries (MICs) seem to go unacknowledged. Sri Lanka calls for special treatment on the extension of financial assistance to the MICs and global south.
Amidst efforts to preserve world peace, it is disheartening to observe that millions of people continue to be impacted by the scourge of armed conflicts, aggressive expansionist policies, acts of terrorism and separatism, and violent extremism across the world. Sri Lanka having experienced separatism and terrorism for three decades condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, in the strongest possible terms, whenever and whosoever commits such acts. We reiterate the importance of enhanced cooperation and NAM solidarity to suppress the financing, prevention and combating of terrorism.
Sri Lanka is concerned about the deteriorating situation in Palestine and economic blockade on Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and others.
On the question of inter-State disputes, in line with the principles of NAM, Sri Lanka emphasizes that dialogue is the most effective mechanism to resolve issues and achieve consensus, rather than the use of coercive measures or the use of force.
The collective expectations of this Movement for the establishment of a peaceful, prosperous, equitable and a just world order, are challenged by the financial and economic crises, inequitable distribution and limited resources, and lack of cooperation steeped within the international system. Some of which could be addressed by increased use of technology and knowhow of NAM.
Global crises require universal solutions and sustained international solidarity. Therefore, we should recommit ourselves to strengthen multilateralism and cooperation in responding to the numerous socio-economic and security challenges and equally important frontiers in global climate change.
Sri Lanka is pleased to support the convening of the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, initiated by the Chair, and will actively participate in its deliberations.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, my delegation would like to thank the Republic of Azerbaijan, as Chair of the Non Aligned Movement, for leading the Movement through these unprecedented challenges and for convening this meeting.