Conferences and Meetings

Conferences and Meetings

The conference on the Future Role of the NAM and the commemoration of 50th Anniversary of AAPSO, 15 June 2007 Speech of Mr.Nouri Abdul Razzak

Speech of Nouri Abdul Razzak Hussain
Secretary – General of AAPSO
At the conference on the Future Role of the NAM and the commemoration of 50th Anniversary of AAPSO,
Held in Manila, 15 June 2007

Chair person,
Prof. Reynalodo De Guzman,
Comrade Antonio Paris,
Friends and Comrades,

I am happy once again to be in Manila and speak to our friends in this 50th anniversary meeting organised by the Philippine Peace and Solidarity Council. I am thankful specially to brother Antonio Paris, the National Secretary of PPSC.

In fact my attempt here is to speak on two things; AAPSO’s fiftieth anniversary and the future of the Non – Aligned Movement. As you all are quite aware of the history of these movements, I shall refrain from reiterating it and delve only our future direction. The two movements are actually interconnected; hence setback for one certainly will impact the other. Both movements are born of Bandung Spirit and therefore committed to strengthen this spirit which has not invalidated in spite of tremendous changes over the years, not only Afro-Asian but also the whole world.

After the 13th Summit in Kuala Lumpur in 2003, several meaningful efforts were made to implement the decision of revitalisation. There was Asian-African Summit in Jakarta covering three broad areas in political solidarity, economic cooperation and socio-cultural relations which was termed as the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP). On the part of AAPSO as a peoples movement, we have carried these decision to the grass roots through our national organisations. I do not say that we can be fully satisfied with what we have done. But within the available parameters and constraints it had been effective.

The 14th NAM Summit held in Havana, Cuba in 2006 was another step in this direction. As usual Latin American countries played a bigger role. There were additional steps taken at the 14th Summit specially at the behest and successful experiments by Cuba. This is in the field of human resources development and energy conservation. The two things have become priority in the developing countries. In the area of human resources development what is significant is the rapid campaign to eliminate illiteracy and provide affordable health facilities including cheaper drugs for such diseases as AIDS and T.B. Cuba as the chairman of the NAM has taken practical steps. Campaign against illiteracy is already activated in Latin America and some parts of Africa. As for health facilities Cuban medical personnel are sent in large numbers who do a yoeman service. Large numbers of scholarships are provided to students from developing countries to pursue medical studies in Cuba and in several Latin American countries. Cuba has sent over 17,000 medical doctors to Venezula and also to African countries. This is in keeping with the NAM principle of South-South cooperation. In Latin America we witness enormous changes taking place through the electoral process which brought about governments who desire to work for the people of their countries. This tendency is a welcome omen for the revitalization and advancement of the Non-Aligned Movement. These attempts of the NAM have the unstinted support of the grass root level peoples movement including AAPSO.

The new wind blowing across Latin America is a positive development both for the Non-Aligned Movement and the civil society peoples movements. Old days of military coups and dictatorships are gone. There is a great resurgence of the indigenous people who were neglected for many years both by colonialism and the military junta dictatorships. For the first time Bolivia elected an indigenous leader as the President. This tendency is moving across Guatemala, Mexico and elsewhere. For the first time in history of Latin America, ballot has succeeded over the bullets. This has enabled the peoples’ movements to be more vigilant and organised. Although AAPSO does not have adequate contacts with civil society organisations except Cuba; we hope in future to develop our close relationships. Most significant development is taking place in Venezuela with the election of Hugo Chلvez Frيas as its President. The new government has put the petrol income at the service of its people. Venezula is the fifth biggest petrol producing country in the world and in addition to transforming the society to the Bolivarian socialism, Venezuela also is assisting other Latin American countries for their socio-economic development. These new changes are not to the liking of Bush administration.

I would like to draw your attention to the unfortunate situation going on in the Middle East specialy in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. Rather any settlement, we see a catastrophic destruction and enormous human suffering. There is a long way to achieve the state of Palestine and also peace in Iraq and Lebanon.

The US led invasion to Iraq and it consequences has led to a lot of miseries to the Iraqi, people as a result of the hegomonestic ideology of the neo conservatives in the Bush administration, the US strategy in the M.E has led to the radicalisation, and growth of fundamentalism as resulting from disenchantment and frustration. The germs of Al Qaida which crystallized in Iraqi mayhem has over flown to the neighbouring countries with terroristic destruction. It is the failure of both the U.S.; western countries and the traditional organisations to meet the aspirations of the people. This religious radicalisation has blown across the world as we see the adverse developments in Afghanistan, (Darfur) Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Southern Thailand and Indonesia. It has found its way even to some areas of Philippines. Therefore it is the duty of the civil society to consolidate and forge broad alliance to meet this pernicious challenge.

Disarmament and elimination of all types of weapons including weapons of mass destruction is the aspiration of human-kind. Unfortunately, since of late there has been a big set back owing to the intransigence of major powers primarily the United States. Its danger is more present in Asia with India and Pakistan becoming nuclear powers. With the nuclear deal between the U.S. and India, there is lot of apprehension. Most of Peoples organisations in India too is opposed to this deal. AAPSO was able to co-sponsor an international seminar on the “US-Indo Nuclear Deal” in Mumbai in March 2007 with several international and Indian organisations to shed light on the dangers which may arise from this deal. There was a good response with eminent personalities participating and the discussions were of very high calibre. AAPSO will publish a book collecting all the presentations. The resume of the discussion has been already presented to Indian Leaders, U.N. Secretary – General and others.

We are living in the present world of enormous challenges; these challenges were debated in depth at the 14th Summit of NAM. As mentioned energy is going to be a big hurdle with the rapid growth of economies in countries like China, India, Brazil, South Africa and others. Scientists have already indicated the possibilities of depletion of oil resources and the need for conservation and creating alternative energy with protection of the environment. Raul Castro who presided over the 14th NAM Summit mentioned that “Nowadays, Non-alignment means supporting the rights of the countries of the South to take measures needed to ensure that they control over their natural resources, for the benefit of the people”. He also mentioned that though the NAM countries are majority in the U.N. but not a decisive force.

Hydrocarbon is the main ingredient of the energy resources so far. Although the enormous deposits lie in developing countries, more often the ownership and marketing belonged to large companies in the West. It is a tragedy that some of the oil rich countries in the south are the poorest. Despite oil boom, Nigeria has end up in more poverty. The genocidal situation in Darfur, in Sudan it is more or less connected to oil resources. The thirst for oil in Western countries results in conflicts, invasion and occupation of oil rich territories in the South which bring enormous suffering to their people. Therefore it is necessary that peoples’ organisations such as AAPSO need to work hand in hand with other like minded organisations to rationally use this precious resources and for the benefit of the people. Unfortunately despite well-intention resolutions, even the NAM become helpless as a result of the widespread corruption among the rulers of some NAM countries to implement them.

As an alternative fuel, the present administration of the U.S. is keen to use Biofuel as an alternative. Brazil is advance in ethanol; a product from plants and also from sugar cane. During the recent visit to the U.S. Brazils President Lula became the first Latin “American president to be hosted by President George Bush at his presidential residence at Camp David. Although the two countries managed to sign a memorandum of understanding on the production and research on ethanol, the U.S. president refused to cover the tariffs on imports of Brazian ethanol”. Bush also made a visit to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico during his Latin America tour in March. This visit has aroused more anger among the people of Latin America. Main purpose of his visit is designed to help U.S. corn companies to engage in ethanol product. There is enormous opposition to this project since, food growing lands will be diverted and food production will deteriorate with unaffordable price for the poorer class; even the World Food Organisation has expressed its alarm. The peoples’ movement of these countries have taken up this growing animosity as these ventures will end up people reducing to poverty as happened by the oil boom in Nigeria. This is a huge challenge that will fall on to our movement for mobolisation through out the world with our friends in the North.

Despite the end of cold war, the cold war rhetoric still prevail in Europe with regard to the expansion of NATO and the U.S. effort to deploy missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Although the U.S. says these missiles are directed against Iran and North Korea, Russia and others considers it a threat to their security. This tense situation if not resolved will have adverse repercussion in the world. With China emerging as an economic super power, and India’s rapid economic growth and the growing tendency for these countries to come together is not palatable for the U.S. Most ASEAN countries have made strides in economic development. In this regard it is necessary to strengthen our contact with these countries to have a stronger peoples movement based on the Bandung Spirit. As we know it is the mass movement and civil society which will play a big role to strengthen the NAM like your organisation PPSC since Non-Aligned Movement cannot develop in isolation. We hope that our friends in PPSC with enormous experiences will be able to contact like minded persons in these countries for our common struggle for a stronger AAPSO with wider representation.

Thank you