Opening Statement by
H.E. Mohamed Morsy
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
President of the XV Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
Opening Session of the XVI Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
Tehran, The Islamic Republic of Iran
August 30th, 2012
(English translation of the original version delivered in Arabic)
In the name of God the most Merciful and Compassionate.
Peace be upon Prophet Muhammad,
upon all the Prophets and Messengers of God,
and upon his companions Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali.
His Excellency President Mahmud Ahmadi Nejad the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Excellencies Heads of States or Governments,
Ministers and Heads of Delegations,
His Excellency Dr. Nabil El-Araby Secretary General of the Arab League,
His Excellency Nassir Abdelaziz Al-Nasr, President of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly,
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Ambassadors and Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I declare open the XVI Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Movement that succeeded to turn the vision of its founding fathers from principles and concepts to concrete actions, from a condition of weakness to a source of strength at the international stage.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Islamic Republic of Iran for hosting this Summit. I would also like to express our appreciation for the warm welcome, the kind hospitality and excellent organizational arrangements by our Iranian hosts.
I would also like to renew our thanks to the Republic of Cuba for its sincere efforts to promote the objectives of the Movement during its tenure at the NAM Troika for the past nine years. In addition, I welcome the incoming Troika member, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the host of the XVII Summit of the Movement in 2015.
A special welcome is also due to Mr. Ban Ki-moon the Secretary General of the United Nations, to Dr. Nabil El-Araby, the Secretary General of the Arab League and to Mr. Nasser El-Nasr, the President of the General Assembly.
We meet today at one of the most important moments in contemporary history, in the aftermath of the Egyptian peaceful Revolution that has, in fact, started a number of years ago, and materialized only on January 25, 2011, when Egyptians united to topple a despotic regime that never reflected the interests of its own people.
Egyptians succeeded with the help of God and their own solidarity to pass through a difficult transitional period, full of challenges. Unity among Egyptians, the peaceful nature of the Egyptian Revolution and solidarity between the army and the people was instrumental to reaching this success.
The early beginnings of the Movement started with a similar active participation by Egypt and its leadership, who truly represented, then, the will of the people. Yes, Nasser was representing the will of the Egyptian people to resist foreign hegemony on emerging nations back then.
The Egyptian Revolution represents the corner stone of the Arab Spring. It was preceded by the Revolution in Tunisia. It was also followed by the Revolutions in Libya, in Yemen and now in Syria against the oppressive regime there.
The Egyptian Revolution has succeeded in achieving its political objectives. Now, political power has been finally transferred to a truly civilian government, elected by the Egyptians without any foreign interference. Egypt has now become a national, constitutional, democratic, modern state.
We meet today amidst a multitude of challenges facing our countries.
The Palestinian people continue, with impressive courage, their struggle for the fulfillment of their legitimate right to establish their own independent State.
The Syrian people are engaged in a struggle for freedom, justice and human dignity.
The current international system is facing many challenges, foremost among them is the international financial crisis and the failure of the institutions entrusted to maintain international peace and security to discharge their responsibilities. An increasing number of Non-Aligned countries are facing unprecedented internal and external threats. Intolerance, discrimination, extremism and international terrorism are on the rise. The problem of climate change is becoming more acute. The suffering of a number of developing countries from poverty and endemic disease is increasing.
Brothers and Sisters,
It is the destiny of the Non Aligned Movement to play a pivotal role in these decisive moments. The Movement was established at the height of the Cold War, when colonized peoples were struggling to earn their independence and sovereignty. The Ten Principles of the Movement constituted a solid foundation to protect the political and economic interests of its peoples. Despite the shifts in the international political landscape, the Movement has maintained its fundamental principles. It never deviated from its original objectives. The inclusive framework established by the Movement was able to protect the interests of newly independent developing countries. It succeeded in creating a wide international framework that established a new legitimacy for a foreign policy that distanced itself from military alliances and bipolarity. A legitimacy that permitted newly independent countries that had just escaped from the oppression of colonialism, to focus on new objectives based on the principles of independence and positive neutrality.
The main theme of this Summit: “Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance” clearly reflects the vision that our Movement needs to embrace energetically as we move towards a world that is more just; as we look forward to take an active role in the governance of the international system.
The “New Egypt” is seeking the establishment of an equitable international system that can save the developing countries from the vicious circles of poverty, dependence and marginalization and launch them into an era where they master their own initiative, and march them towards prosperity and strength. This will not happen unless we reach a global understanding that underscores the necessity to apply the principles of democracy to the international system itself, and genuine multilateralism on international politics. It is no longer acceptable to respect the requirements of democracy at the national level, while rejecting them at the international level. It is no longer acceptable to look forward to apply the principles of diversity and equity at the national level and set them aside in the system of international governance.
Egypt believes that one of the fundamental elements of this new equitable international system lies in enhancing the contribution of developing countries in the management and reform of global governance institutions in order to secure equitable participation in setting the global agenda and more effective participation in the process of international decision making at the political, economic and social levels.
The first step towards reaching this goal is the comprehensive reform and enlargement of the Security Council to make it more in tune with the global system in the 21st century. It is no longer acceptable to maintain the historic injustice against Africa by leaving it out of the category of permanent membership, let alone its disproportionate low representation in the non-permanent category. This is happening at the time when the majority of issues under consideration in the Council pertain to situations in African countries.
At the same time, we have to revitalize the role of the General Assembly, and increase its contribution in peace and security matters, as it is the most democratic and representative organ of the United Nations. We have witnessed in the last few month how important it is for the General Assembly to assume a more active role at the time when the Security Council was deadlocked regarding a number of international crises, the last of which was the situation in Syria.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The issue of Palestine has been at the forefront of NAM’s priorities since the Movement’s inception and will remain as such until a just and comprehensive solution, that preserves the inalienable and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, is attained, including the establishment of a Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
We must continue to stand up for justice, and provide the necessary political backing for any effort aiming to attain full Palestinian membership in the United Nations. We should also shed light on the suffering imposed by the occupation forces on the people of Palestine, particularly the on the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, which contradict the principles and customs of international law. On this occasion, I would like to commend the Declaration adopted by the Ministerial Meeting of the NAM Coordinating Bureau in Sharm El Sheikh in May 2012 on Palestinian Political Prisoners. This important document highlighted the plight of these prisoners. It reiterated the Movement’s solidarity with their noble struggle.
On its part, Egypt intends to fully support the Palestinian endeavors at the UN General Assembly or the Security Council to join the United Nations as a full member, should the Palestinian leadership decide to do so. Egypt will also continue to support Palestinian reconciliation efforts in order to enhance the unity of the Palestinian people. In this context, I wish to seize this opportunity to encourage our Palestinian brothers of every affiliation to set aside their differences and reconcile, and to begin implementing the recent understandings reached in Cairo to enable them to direct their attention on their real plight which is combating the occupation and attaining the freedom of the Palestinian people.
Here, I wish to refer to and deplore the recent Israeli decision to prevent a number of Foreign Ministers, members of the NAM’s Committee on Palestine, from entering Ramallah on August 5th to attend the Committee’s Extraordinary Meeting.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our solidarity with the plight of the Syrian people against a repressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is not only a moral duty but one of political and strategic necessity. It emanates from our conviction that Syria will one day be free and strong. We should declare our full support for the struggle of those brave men and women seeking freedom and justice in Syria. We should turn our sentiments into a clear political vision that ensures Syria’s peaceful transformation into a democratic state that respects its peoples’ yearning for freedom, justice and equality. Such a vision must also safeguard Syria from drifting to a civil war or fall victim to sectarian strife. On this note, I wish to emphasize the need to unify the Syrian opposition in a way that guarantees the interests of all factions of the Syrian society, and in a manner that preserves the unity and stability of this great nation.
On its part, Egypt stands ready to cooperate with all relevant parties to stop the bloodshed in Syria and articulate a vision on what a future and free Syrian state would look like. Egypt has proposed an initiative during the recent Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Mecca that seeks to coordinate the efforts of the relevant regional parties to end this bloodshed as soon as possible.
Our Movement faces additional challenges that require us to strengthen and deepen our cooperation to achieve our common goals. For example, and despite the pivotal role of our Movement during the 2010 NPT Review Conference that led to the adoption of four action plans, including an action plan on the Middle East which called for the convening of a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, our efforts to convene such a conference are met by many obstacles. One additional challenge is the attainment of the universality of the NPT, particularly in the Middle East, where one country, Israel, has yet to join the Treaty. We must also continue our efforts to defend our right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy while we fully respect our obligations under the NPT in this regard.
On the economic and social levels, we should seek to build on the existing coordination between the NAM and the G77 and China group to preserve the interests of the developing countries in different fields, and therefore strengthen South/ South cooperation, while further promoting the ongoing dialogue with our international partners.
We must strive to achieve the Millennium goals and build on the achievements of the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil. We must seek a global environment conducive for comprehensive economic and social development. We must focus our attention on youth issues to meet their aspirations for a better future. We must continue our efforts to enable women to play an effective role in their societies while preventing all forms of discrimination against them.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The NAM’s success has always been linked to its unified positions towards common challenges and the respect of the diversity among its member states. This approach has enabled the Movement to address such challenges while preserving its principles. Today, we must stick to the principles and goals of our Movement, and reflect the quantitative increase in NAM member states into a qualitative role for the Movement in global affairs.
During the past 3 years, Egypt spared no effort in defending the interests of NAM Member states. We sought to maintain its unity amidst changing realities. Today, as we transfer the chairmanship of the NAM to the Islamic Republic of Iran, we are confident in the latter’s ability to lead the Movement objectively and transparently in a manner that preserves the unity of its membership and maintains the effective role it plays in global affairs and builds on the achievements of the previous NAM chairmanships.
Egypt will extend its hand, in all sincerity, to all NAM Member States and will continue to be at the forefront of the Movement’s efforts to achieve freedom, justice, and dignity for its people. Egypt will maintain its commitment to support the NAM’s prominent role in achieving global, viable, and comprehensive peace, and continue participating in global governance, in order to attain a more effective world order that is more just and reflective of the interests of all.