Basic Documents: Statement of H.E. Rodrigo Pardo Barcia-Peņa Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia in the Preparatory Meeting at Ministerial Level
Before anything else, I want to bid you all welcome to Colombia. The heroic city of Cartagena de Indias is honoured by the presence of such illustrious colleagues from the Non-Aligned World.
First of all I must cite most especially the excellent work done by His Excellency President Soeharto and his entire government during the years when he was Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. Under his leadership and wise direction Indonesia made sure that we would not drift away from the ideals of the founding fathers and that the Movement would be able to negotiate this difficult stage of present-day international relations.
I also want to commend the work of Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, who did much to preserve the vitality and effectiveness of the Movement so that it may advance into the coming years as the best instrument of political action of the developing world.
Welcome to Cartagena de Indias, to Colombia, to Latin America. We greet you with all the feeling with which we have always received visitors to these land, where reality blends with fantasy and dreams are made practical by the tenacity and commitment of their peoples.
This city that is today the host of the Non-Aligned Movement symbolizes one of the most just struggles ever waged in all history. A few meters from this spot lie to remains of an apostle who was a hero and pioneer in that war on slavery: Saint Peter Claver, set first set foot on the coast of New Granada in 1610, and whose story is memorialized in the name of the temple and the most beautiful square in the city.
Four decades ago, the Bandung Declaration adopted the struggle against Apartheid as one of the principal causes of what years later would become the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. The gains made on that front, reinforced by advances in consolidation of the self-determination of peoples, and in the quest for peace and the struggle for a just and equitable international system, are the best stimulus to the continuation of our work.
The world situation in which we are called upon to take up the challenge of the Chairmanship of the Movement is a particularly complex one. The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries is more essential and urgent than ever to protect the autonomy of our peoples, non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and for the concentration of all our energies on the solution of our problems from our own standpoints, as a response to our own situations, and in accordance with our own interests. Those who question the validity of the Non-Aligned Movement are wrong.
Indeed, if there were no Movement today, we would have to set ourselves to the task of inventing it.
Too numerous, in fact, are the sources of concern of our peoples that require our joint efforts: neo-interventionist practices, the deepening of poverty, the monopoly of advances in science and technology, the neo-protectionism of the industrialized countries, the resurgence of nationalism, the renewal of nuclear threats, devastation of the environment, the general spread of violence and conflicts, and the growing use of and traffic in illicit drugs all over the world, among several other matters.
East-West relations have undergone fundamental changes, but there have been none of the same magnitude in the relations between the industrialized North and the impoverished South. At the recent World Summit on Social Development it became clear that the wide gaps between North and South persist and have become yet wider.
In the present scheme of world relations the situation of the developing countries has not only not improved, but is actually growing worse. The world trade system remains unfair to our nations, poverty has not been reduced, social development is standing still, the South remains scientifically and technologically backward, the problem of the external debt still hangs over our economies and, in sum, the gap between the quality of life of people in the North and in the South has grown ever wider.
These are all the real threats that stand in the way of the attainment of lasting world peace in these new times. The problems of peace are none other than those of development, justice and equity. The same boldness and resolve with which the founders of the Movement struggled and triumphed against classical colonialism, apartheid, the dangers of the nuclear arms race, and ideological and strategic alignment are needed now to build a world that is more just, stable, peaceful and equitable.
Despite the obstacles and difficulties, the present juncture in international relations offers a great opportunity for the Movement to play a more active role on the world stage.
And we need a more dynamic Non-Aligned Movement because, as Chairman Mubarak said in Cairo last year, stagnation leads to atrophy and death, whereas action and development are laws of life, the positive means to survival and progress. The first requirement, he said, is that our ideals never be confined to empty watchwords or resounding rhetoric.
Despite the undoubted successes scored by the Movement, today, in 1995, as we approach a new century and a new millennium, the founding fathers would not be satisfied. New challenges have emerged, several of them even more complex and difficult than many of those of the past.
At Bandung in 1955 it was established that world peace was closely bound up with the freedom of the peoples of the developing world that were not yet independent. Today we must say that the idea of peace is determined by what we do for our development, for the protection of the environment, for respect for human rights, for cooperation, free trade, and nonintervention.
The Afro-Asian Conference stressed the need for cooperation in disarmament. Today, cooperation between our countries and with the industrialized countries must be the principal means for the total denuclearization of international relations. I venture to remind you, my dear friends, that thanks to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, Latin America is the first region in the world to be entirely free of nuclear weapons, and we are eager to see that spirit spread to other regions that yearn, as we do, for peace and tranquillity.
Building a new international system to replace the unilateral hegemonic practices of the past arms race is a goal towards which the Movement must work. It has become mandatory to rewrite the rules of the game that predominated in the international system over the last 40 years, and which have undoubtedly ceased to hold because the world political situation has changed.
Another source of concern in the developing world is free trade. The paradox here is that, while significant advances have been made with the creation of the World Trade Organization and the proliferation of free trade agreements, neo-protectionistic arrangements have also emerged under the disguise of many arguments.
Because of this, it is of first importance to work for applications of the rules of trade to North and South equally, and not, as is happening today, the opening of the economies of the developing world to the free market, in many cases jeopardizing the social well-being of their populations, while the industrialized countries refine and raise higher their obstacles to trade.
Another serious and growing problem of mankind is transnational crime, and especially the use and production of and traffic in drugs. This is a dire threat to the health of our young, a fearsome source of corruption and a cause of wanton violence. The problem of narcotics is growing. And the community of nations will not arrive at a real solutions for it unless a global strategy based on the principle of corresponsibility is launched.
Proposals of partial, unilateral or limited solutions are not just unfair to countries which, like Colombia, are incurring high cost to further that policy, but are inefficient as well: as has been demonstrated in my country, where the harshest blows have been struck against the production of and traffic in drugs, the absence of a comprehensive undertaking has resulted in progressive aggravation of the illicit drug problem worldwide.
The community of nations has a great task, and great responsibility to cooperate in the war on transnational crime. The world faces the challenge of launching a global strategy to replace the mutual recriminations with practical action to combat money laundering, drug use and the diversion of chemical precursors. Mankind needs an integrated approach which will ensure that future generations can live their lives free of the threat of drugs.
We must also work for what President Samper has called the alternative development model. The developing world must start to find an economic model which, without giving up of efficiency and competitiveness will meet the social needs of its peoples, mainly in health, education, housing, employment and all those other areas that were discussed at the Social Summit in Copenhagen.
We need an alternative to replace the old protectionist model, which affects the competitiveness of our economies in the work economy, and the neo-liberal model, which prevents us from acting to assist our poor. We do not want to align ourselves with either extreme neither populism nor neo-liberlism. We seek a new choice, which will allow us to be competitive and at the same time secure social justice.
Our main objective must be the welfare of the peoples of our developing world. President Mandela has rightly reminded us that the lesson of our time is that no regime can survive, whatever its ideological origins, if it acts without consulting ordinary people. The ordinary people of East and West, he says, share the same dreams: all aspire to decent housing, work, a way to make a living, meaningful education, peace, the chance to enjoy nature, the end of discrimination on grounds of race or gender, and the opportunity to develop their creative potential.
We in Colombia, like many of you, are blessed with a great wealth of natural resources. We believe that the crisis of the environment is a global problem that can be solved only by global strategies to which all countries are committed, yet which take account of the particular circumstances of each. Colombia and the other countries rich in natural resources cannot take upon themselves the full cost of resolving this crisis, nor indeed can they tolerate the interference of others in the design and execution of their environmental policies.
The Movement has another mission also: it should play a fundamental part in the reform of the United Nations System, which should become a more pluralist and democratic world organization, able to tackle the solutions to the most grievous problems of mankind with dynamism, justice and equity.
In a world that is daily more unilateral in the quest for solutions to our universal problems, there is a clear need to look for multilateral areas for the coordination of policies and of strategies for addressing transnational situations. A modernized United Nations, in harmony with the new context of international relations following the end of the Cold War, would be an excellent instrument for the promotion of a more equitable world order in which both peace and development should be achievable.
As President Samper said at the General Assembly of the United Nations last year, we believe that the new era after the Cold War offers us this most fortunate opportunity to revive the spirit of the Charter of San Francisco and to take up again the deferred task of building a new world system based on solidarity, respect for self-determination of our peoples, and real search for a better standard of living for all.
It is a matter of concern for the developing world that the new facts of interdependence and globalization have been interpreted by other countries, and in certain, multilateral organizations, to imply that intervention in the internal affairs of other countries is the appropriate way to deal with problems whose effect is transnational. It is a mistake to think that the undeniable fact that our affairs are no longer exclusively national, but global and communal, automatically implies the necessity and legitimacy of intervention to solve problems that affect a large group of countries.
We do not share that interpretation, if global problems are addressed unilaterally, by the imposition of solutions, or by the intervention of the strong countries in the weak, those problems cannot be solved indeed, they will grow worse, issues whose origins and effects are multinational will yield only to treatment based on cooperation between countries.
The Non-Aligned Movement should speak out against any tendency to reconsider international law as the main mechanism to secure peaceful coexistence among all members of the world community. We cannot accept the imposition of force over international law.
We have heard voices from some quarters insisting that our Non-Alignment is no longer possible now that the main features of the two-power East-West confrontation have collapsed. But I say to you that we must continue to work together if we wish to retain Non-Alignment.
Non-Aligned with poverty and social injustice.
Non-Aligned with an inequitable and unbalanced international system.
Non-Aligned with neo-protectionism in trade, and with obstacles to our access to science and technology.
Non-Aligned with interventionist practices that violate international law.
Non-Aligned with the settlement of conflicts and disputes between and within countries by force of arms and violence.
Non-Aligned with violations of human rights, including the right to development, and to discrimination against migrants.
Non-Aligned with the non-democratic and non-pluralist institutions in the United Nations System.
Non-Aligned with strategies on the environment and drug-trafficking that are based on unilateral action rather than international cooperation.
Our Movement has been a leader in the developing countries quest for independence and in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It must now become the champion of cooperation among countries.
The challenge today must be for all of us in the southern world to learn to speak the same language - the language of international cooperation.
Thank you very much.
16 October 1995