TEHRAN - President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday called for forging a common vision to ensure a new role for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) by enabling it to address the challenges of 21st Century.
President Zardari said since its inception, the NAM represented the aspirations of more than half the humanity living in the developing countries, served as a strong force and offered great promise to the future. NAM member states, he said, represent nearly two-thirds of the UN members.
Currently, the organisation was passing through challenging times, Zardari said, and added that the world was witnessing a historic transformation that calls for reiterating the beliefs and principles of the United Nations Charter and values for multilateralism. The president said that the NAM’s greatest strength had been its unity as it defeated imperialism and apartheid in the 20th Century and called for showing the same solidarity, conviction and unity to face the new challenges.
Zardari congratulated Iran for assuming the chair of the body and for the successful holding of the Summit. He said the two countries had a long history of culture with ties dating back to thousands of years. He said Pakistan looked forward to further strengthening of these ties. He also appreciated the contribution of Egypt for past three years as the chair of NAM.
President Zardari, who had a series of meetings with the leaders of Iran, India, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan during his two-day stay, said that Pakistan desired good relations and enhanced economic cooperation with all countries. He said that Pakistan was engaged in a comprehensive dialogue with India and wanted a peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The president said that the destinies of Pakistan and Afghanistan were interconnected as both had suffered conflicts for the past three decades. He said Pakistan was fully committed to promoting durable peace in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan would stand by its Afghan brothers through the various phases of transition and continue to support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process.
He also vowed to stand by the Afghan brothers in meeting the challenges of transition and transformation. The president, however, hoped that “unfinished” issue of the repatriation of the Afghan refugees would be taken into account by the international community, so as to ensure their respectful return to their homeland.
On the global issue of terrorism, he said Pakistan had lost over 40,000 lives and suffered over $80 billion in economic losses. Victory against militancy requires that hearts and minds of people are won and it can be addressed by removing the feelings of deprivation, he said. “You must give a message of hope to the youth, and need to engage in an intellectual debate with them to counter extremism,” he added.
Raising the issue of narcotics, Zardari said heroin was developed as a war weapon to defeat a rival ideology, but now it was fuelling the financial backbone of terrorism. The world community while withdrawing from Afghanistan took away their weapons, but left behind heroin, which is causing havoc in the region. He said Pakistan convened a regional ministerial conference in November to discuss ways to end use of heroin as a war weapon.
President Zardari also said global peace and security rested in disarmament and non-proliferation, and their rules must be based on non-discrimination. On the Iran nuclear issue the president said a diplomatic solution to the issue should be sought. He said the NAM must not legitimise the double standards in the disarmament regimes.
Expressing deep concern over the continued bloodshed in Syria, President Zardari demanded its immediate end. He said that the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people must be respected. On the issue of Palestine, the president said that Pakistan fully respected the right of the people of Palestine for self-determination, as establishment of an independent state of Palestine was critical to peace.
President Zardari also strongly condemned the unilateral declaration of independence in parts of Mali and extended full support to the government and the people of Mali in their struggle for maintaining their territorial integrity. Zardari also mentioned the close relationship Pakistan enjoys with the African states. He said Pakistan continued to support the UN peace efforts by contributing to the peace-keeping programmes.
Addressing the leaders of the organisation that considers itself not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc and is the largest grouping of countries outside of the United Nations, the president said Pakistan believed in the promise of multilateralism, as states could achieve more collectively than individually.
The president said the solution to problems must be based on dialogue and consensus, and added that the more the members contribute, the more the space for unilateral acts would reduce. He in this regard mentioned that Pakistan had tried successfully the principles of harmony, tolerance and respect for diversity, and the same could be applied for the NAM member states. “We believe it also holds great promise for inter-state relations,” he said.
President calls for NAM's new role
to meet challenges