The 18th summit of NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) was held in Baku, 25-26 October 2019.
During the summit, Azerbaijan took over the presidency of the movement from Venezuela for a three-year term from 2019 to 2022.
The heads of state and government of 60 of the 120 member countries of NAM participated in the summit.
The NAM was established at the 1961 Non-Aligned Conference in Belgrade after the emergence of a bipolar world and the formation of two military blocks NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
From Central Asia, Turkmenistan joined NAM in 1995. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are observers. [nCa]
Speech of President Berdymuhamedov at NAM Summit
President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov made a speech at the summit. Here is the unofficial, slightly paraphrased translation of his speech:
Dear Mr. Chairman! Dear heads of delegations! Ladies and Gentlemen!
First of all, let me express my heartfelt gratitude to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, respected Ilham Heydarovich Aliyev, for organizing this Forum, hospitality and cordiality, creating an atmosphere of cooperation and constructive dialogue.
Since the previous Conference of Heads of State of the Non-Aligned Movement in Venezuela, serious changes have taken place in the world, new trends in international politics have appeared, and alternative geopolitical and geoeconomic arrangements have arisen. All this requires us to seriously reflect on the current situation and develop adequate approaches and solutions.
Today, member states of the Non-Aligned Movement need a consolidated and concentrated effort to achieve the main goal – the preservation and maintenance of global peace, strategic stability and security.
That is what should determine the thoughts and actions of responsible states at the level of global decisions, as well as on local and regional directions. Turkmenistan is convinced: despite all the threats and challenges of recent times, together we are able to find effective tools to counter them.
We give a special role to the Non-Aligned Movement. The principles and ideals of the Movement, laid in its foundation several decades ago, are especially in demand today.
They objectively correspond to the essential needs of the vast majority of people on the planet. Based on them, we, the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement, together with other members of the international community, should give a new powerful impetus to strengthening the global security, filling our activities in this direction with specific political and legal content and world outlook.
The key condition for this, in our opinion, is the restoration and approval of trust and predictability as the basis for building constructive, balanced relations in the international arena, and making informed decisions.
Realizing its share of responsibility for the state of affairs in the world, Turkmenistan took the initiative to declare at the United Nations General Assembly the year 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust. A few weeks ago, on September 12 this year, the General Assembly unanimously, with the co-authorship of 73 UN member states, adopted the above Resolution.
Let me take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the members of the Non-Aligned Movement, especially to the states that have sponsored the adopted Resolution, for their support and solidarity in the implementation of this initiative, which is significant for strengthening peace and security.
The most important task in the framework of ensuring global security is the effective counteraction to international terrorism. Supporting the efforts of the international community to create effective international mechanisms to combat terrorism, Turkmenistan advocates the full implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
We believe that such work should be carried out everywhere – both at the global, regional, and national levels. We are convinced that for the member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement, some of which are directly confronted with the real and potential threat of terrorism, this task is highly relevant.
Another global issue that directly affects many member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement is refugees. The vast majority of them come from the countries of the Non-Aligned Movement.
In an effort to find a real solution to the refugee problem and taking the initiative of broad international cooperation in this area, Turkmenistan in May 2012, in close cooperation with the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, hosted an international conference on the problem of refugees.
At the national level, only in recent years, our country has granted citizenship to more than 20 thousand refugees and stateless persons. At the Tehran Summit in 2012, Turkmenistan proposed including the refugee problem as an independent area of activity of the Non-Aligned Movement. We suggest returning to a substantive examination of this issue.
The most important area of activity of the Non-Aligned Movement today is the global economy.
We are convinced that our states should advocate from a consolidated position in defense of the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, actively uphold justice and equality in international economic relations, resolutely oppose discrimination, unreasonable, often artificial barriers in world trade, and for recognition of the economic sovereignty of peoples and states.
Here the voice of the Non-Aligned Movement should sound solid and substantial; we must proactively and responsibly promote our own global economic agenda.
In this context, the active participation of non-aligned states in the formation of a common energy security system based on fair and transparent principles, equitable access to energy sources and means of their delivery, accounting and recognition of the interests of suppliers, buyers and energy transit countries is of paramount importance.
As you know, for many years Turkmenistan has taken serious steps to establish a broad international partnership in the field of comprehensive energy security. During the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, our country plans to submit for its consideration a draft resolution aimed at ensuring reliable and stable energy transit and its role in sustainable development and international cooperation.
The joint work of the states of the Non-Aligned Movement in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including food security, can be no less effective. The unity, decisiveness and firmness of the positions of non-aligned countries are necessary when considering issues of ensuring access of states and regions to food resources, and guarantees of good nutrition as an inalienable right of any person.
We also advocate for more emphasized cooperation among the non-aligned movement member states on climate change issues. In this regard, the consolidation of our efforts to implement the Global Development Agenda until 2030 and the Paris Agreement is of particular importance.
Being here, in the capital of one of the Caspian littoral states, I cannot but dwell on the planetary importance of preserving the Caspian Sea, its ecology, and unique biodiversity.
At the First Caspian Economic Forum in Turkmenistan this August, our country came up with the idea of creating a new Caspian environmental program as a set of environmental measures to ensure the rational use of the Caspian’s rich natural resources.
We intend to initiate a broad dialogue on this topic, and look forward to the full support of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Dear heads and members of delegations!
Next year, Turkmenistan will celebrate one of the most important dates in its modern history – the 25th anniversary of the international recognition of the neutral status of our country. But another significant event is associated with this date – the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s membership in the Non-Aligned Movement.
These dates are inextricably linked, and we will never forget and always gratefully emphasize that it was at the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Colombian Cartagena in October 1995 that Turkmenistan’s desire to become a neutral state received unanimous support from non-aligned countries. We rightly consider this a milestone event in promoting the idea of neutrality of Turkmenistan in the world public opinion and its subsequent consolidation at the UN level.
The years that have passed since that memorable event have shown that the principles of our neutrality, and its deep worldview are consonant with the goals and values of the Non-Aligned Movement, meet the aspirations and aspirations of all peoples and states that share the ideals of peace, equality, non-interference, respect for each country, its sovereign right to its own path of development.
On December 12, 2020, a number of major international events will be held in Ashgabat on the anniversary of Turkmen neutrality. Among them is the International Conference on Peace, Security and Sustainable Development. Taking this opportunity, I invite all heads of state and heads of delegations of non-aligned countries to take part in these celebrations. [nCa]
Berdymuhamedov meets host of NAM Summit
On the sidelines of the event, President Berdymuhamedov had a meeting with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, the host of the summit.
President Aliyev emphasized that he supports the initiatives voiced by the Turkmen leader at the current Summit on key aspects of global sustainable development, such as peaceful coexistence of states, countering terrorism, resolving refugee problems, achieving food security, and environmental well-being.
The Azerbaijani leader also supported the idea of the President of Turkmenistan to promote a strategy of equality in international economic relations and a consolidated counteraction to discrimination in world trade.
The sides exchanged views on the prospects for cooperation between the two countries and outlined the priority areas for adding up efforts. Mutual interest in strengthening friendly ties and diversification of trade and economic cooperation was expressed.
The priority areas in the fuel and energy and transport sectors were discussed. It was noted that Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have a modern infrastructure, in particular, a port infrastructure, which leads to effective interaction between automobile and railway ferry services, and the formation of an extensive logistics network. They also discussed aspects of enhancing partnerships in the scientific, educational and cultural fields. [this part of report based on material from TDH]
NAM Principles & Purposes
The following are the founding principles of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), better known as the Bandung Principles, as adopted during the Afro-Asian Conference of 1955, which serve as the basis for the policy of non-alignment in international relations:
- – Respect of fundamental human rights and of the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
- – Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
- – Recognition of the equality among all races and of the equality among all nations, both large and small.
- – Non-intervention or non-interference into the internal affairs of another -country.
- – Respect of the right of every nation to defend itself, either individually or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- – Non-use of collective defense pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers.
- – Refraining from acts or threats of aggression and use of force in against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country. Non-use of pressures by any country against other countries.
- – Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- – Promotion of mutual interest and cooperation.
- – Respect for justice and international obligations.
Moreover, during the XIV Summit of the Movement, held in Havana, Cuba, in 2006, the Heads of State or Government adopted a “Declaration on the Purposes and Principles and the Role of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the Present International Juncture”, which includes the following:
- Respect for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law.
- Respect for sovereignty, sovereign equality and territorial integrity of all States.
- Recognition of the equality of all races, religions, cultures and all nations, both big and small.
- Promotion of a dialogue among peoples, civilizations, cultures and religions based on the respect of religions, their symbols and values, the promotion and the consolidation of tolerance and freedom of belief.
- Respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including the effective implementation of the right of peoples to peace and development.
- Respect for the equality of rights of States, including the inalienable right of each State to determine freely its political, social, economic and cultural system, without any kind of interference whatsoever from any other State.
- Reaffirmation of the validity and relevance of the Movement’s principled positions concerning the right to self-determination of peoples under foreign occupation and colonial or alien domination.
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of States. No State or group of States has the right to intervene either directly or indirectly, whatever the motive, in the internal affairs of any other State.
- Rejection of unconstitutional change of Governments.
- Rejection of attempts at regime change.
- Condemnation of the use of mercenaries in all situations, especially in conflict situations.
- Refraining by all countries from exerting pressure or coercion on other countries, including resorting to aggression or other acts involving the use of direct or indirect force, and the application and/or promotion of any coercive unilateral measure that goes against International Law or is in any way incompatible with it, for the purpose of coercing any other State to subordinate its sovereign rights, or to gain any benefit whatsoever.
- Total rejection of aggression as a dangerous and serious breach of International Law, which entails international responsibility for the aggressor.
- Respect for the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Condemnation of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and systematic and gross violations of human rights, in accordance with the UN Charter and International Law.
- Rejection of and opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. In this context, terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for self-determination and national liberation.
- Promotion of pacific settlement of disputes and abjuring, under any circumstances, from taking part in coalitions, agreements or any other kind of unilateral coercive initiative in violation of the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations.
- Defence and consolidation of democracy, reaffirming that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social, and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their life.
- Promotion and defence of multilateralism and multilateral organisations as the appropriate frameworks to resolve, through dialogue and cooperation, the problems affecting humankind.
- Support to efforts by countries suffering internal conflicts to achieve peace, justice, equality and development.
- The duty of each State to fully and in good faith comply with the international treaties to which it is a party, as well as to honour the commitments made in the framework of international organisations, and to live in peace with other States.
- Peaceful settlement of all international conflicts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Defence and promotion of shared interests, justice and cooperation, regardless of the differences existing in the political, economic and social systems of the States, on the basis of mutual respect and the equality of rights.
- Solidarity as a fundamental component of relations among nations in all circumstances.
- Respect for the political, economic, social and cultural diversity of countries and peoples.
[this part of report drawn from NAM https://mnoal.org/nam-principles/ and “Declaration on the purposes and principles and the role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the present international juncture” https://www.mea.gov.in/Images/pdf/Declarationpurposesnam.pdf]
Relevance of NAM today – nCa Commentary by Tariq Saeedi
By conventional wisdom NAM should have become redundant on 26 December 1991, the day the USSR dissolved itself.
However, life defies logic. —– NAM is more relevant today than ever before.
The relevance of NAM resides in the fact that it is not the NAM of the Bandung Conference. — Yugoslavia was the key founding state of NAM and yet none of the states that emerged from the disintegrated Yugoslavia are members of NAM today. Egypt, another of the founding country of NAM, has transformed hugely since the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The NAM that met in Baku on 25-26 October 2019, was the NAM that was reborn at the 14th summit in Havana on 16 September 2006. The purposes and principles of this NAM was enumerated in the Havana Declaration, quoted earlier in another part of this report.
The Havana document not only revived the relevance of NAM in today’s world but also spotlighted the urgency of purposes. It was a tacit acknowledgment that a uni-polar world is inherently a more dangerous place than a bipolar, or a multi-polar world.
This document recognized the right of every state to follow their own path within the principles of the charter of the United Nations. Emphasizing the principle of non-interference, it rejected any attempts at regime change.
The Havana document condemned the use of mercenaries in all situations and snubbed the tendency of exerting any pressure or coercive tactics, which certainly includes unilateral sanctions, as a means of intimidating other states.
The rejuvenated NAM categorically condemned terrorism and at the same time recognized the right to self defence and pointed out that terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for self-determination and national liberation. Simultaneously, it called for the peaceful settlement of all international conflicts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
* * *
Except for the UN itself, no other international organization resembles NAM in composition. Its members are from different continents, they come from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, the member states are not in geographic proximity of each other, some members are rich, others are poor, some have parliamentary system of government, some have presidential form of government, some have other formats to govern themselves, some were historically close to the USSR, some were in the western camp —– their diversity is their strength.
With 120 member states, NAM is the largest world body after the UN.
After the Havana summit, the NAM principles and purposes boiled down to a single phrase – live and let live.
* * *
At the Baku summit, President Berdymuhamedov voiced his opinion on the global economic concerns.
He said, “The most important area of activity of the Non-Aligned Movement today is the global economy. We are convinced that our states should advocate from a consolidated position in defense of the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, actively uphold justice and equality in international economic relations, resolutely oppose discrimination, unreasonable, often artificial barriers in world trade, and for recognition of the economic sovereignty of peoples and states.
“Here the voice of the Non-Aligned Movement should sound solid and substantial; we must proactively and responsibly promote our own global economic agenda.”
Similar views were expressed by several other speakers at the summit.
This gives a new sense of importance and relevance to NAM.
As we have seen during the past few decades, most of the global economic and financial crises are generated by the irresponsible or engineered moves emanating from the certain economic hubs.
In this context, some urgent tasks have surfaced for NAM:
- Creation of level playing field for national economies
- Establishment of shared open-source knowledge base
- Protection against engineered financial and economic shocks
Part of the solution is to join hands in the inter- and intra-regional initiatives for energy security, food security, and connectivity.
This is actually what Turkmenistan advocated at the NAM summit.
* * *
It may sound preposterous to say, but it would actually be advisable for some countries to quit NATO and join NAM for the sake of their own good and the good of the world.
* * *
When speaking of NAM, another factor worth paying attention to is that currently every African country (except South Sudan and Western Sahara) is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. Of the 55 countries of Africa, 53 are in NAM.
The time is now for Africa to play its rightful role at the world stage.
Africa cannot remain a source of raw material any more. It is about to position itself as a supplier of value-added products. It is also close to coming up with innovative solutions and new models of efficiency. The case of Ethiopia is one of the many examples in this area.
With its firm belief in the viability of NAM, Africa can find new models of partnership with the world, and the world can benefit by giving NAM the respect and importance it truly deserves.
* * *
The true relevance of NAM is still taking shape but the direction is clear already — this world body wants to ensure justice and equality for all.
The destination of the Non-Aligned Movement is a Perfectly Aligned World. /// nCa, 28 October 2019
Official website of NAM Summit Baku – https://www.namazerbaijan.org/