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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

Friday, 09 October 2020

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

Hon. Chairman,


Distinguished delegates,

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.

Hon. Chairman,

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.

Hon. Chairman, 

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. 

Hon. Chairman, 

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.

Hon. Chairman,

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. 


Thank you.