Speech by Hon. Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs
At the Inaugural Session of the NAM Ministerial Conference
on behalf of Asian Group
Tehran – 29 July ‘08
It is my privilege today to address this Inaugural Session of the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement on behalf of the Asian Group. For me, this privilege is even more special as I make this speech in this great country, which has been heir to a magnificent civilisation and culture. The warm reception and hospitality extended to all our delegations are deeply characteristic of the generosity and fellowship steeped in that unique civilisation.
As His Excellency President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered his Opening Speech, we were inspired by his words of wisdom and vision of leadership. His words will encourage us to take these deliberations to a successful conclusion and adopt a pragmatic agenda for the future.
We also thank President Ahmadinejad for devoting energy, time and effort, despite his more pressing commitments and preoccupations, to guide this Movement at this most crucial phase in its history. The President has honoured us- and our Movement- with his presence here today.
My friend, Honourable Monouchehr Mottaki, let me convey to you how pleased and honoured the members of the Asian Group are to see you chairing this meeting. Sri Lanka, like many countries which are represented at this conference here, commends the exemplary leadership and initiative shown by you and your nation to bring all our countries together on a common platform. As a group which has been playing a pioneering role in the Movement since its inception, we would like to assure you of our continued support and goodwill towards making this conference an important milestone in the history of this Movement.
This conference takes place in the backdrop of multiple global crises and challenges. Challenges of climate change and global warming, food crisis and energy security affect the world as never before. They are taking on a scale which threatens not just the stability of nations but their existence, as well. The humanity is also being challenged by poverty, increasing epidemics, natural hazards, environmental degradation, terrorism organised crime and trafficking of illegal arms and narcotic drugs, among other things. The scourge of terrorism is spreading fast to all countries and regions of the world, and it is imperative that we take urgent measures to arrest this menace.
Although the developing countries continue to make efforts to move towards the MDGs target for 2015, these new and persistent challenges risk rolling back all the achievements being made. All this demands an immediate, concerted, collective response. And it redounds to the credit of our Movement that we remain unfazed by these present and ominous phenomena and strive together to advance unified positions as we are doing in this great city today.
There is great expectation among our countries and peoples today that we continue to live up to the ideals and principles of NAM and revitalise ourselves to be more relevant to evolving needs and circumstances. Under the leadership of Cuba, which has guided the Movement effectively during most difficult times since its inception, we have taken imaginative and courageous steps to address global issues as a united, coherent entity. With Iran complementing that leadership as we witness now, we are confident that the Movement will grow even stronger in advancing our common interests and goals in the near future.
Let me thank you for your effective leadership and guidance of this historic forum. It is our hope that under your Chairmanship, we will be able to address all these issues as well as other new and emerging challenges in a spirit of cooperation and understanding, consistent with the well-established principles of NAM.