Prince upholds NAM's values

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Brunei Minister of Foreign Affairs, yesterday highlighted how "cohesiveness" and "dynamism" play key roles in the functioning of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The concept of not 'we' and 'them' but 'all of us' working together is what His Royal Highness wants to see NAM to put into action, whether it is religious, economic or political; between the North and the South; or any other division.

In a statement to the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, His Royal Highness at the outset expressed his deep sympathy to the government and people of Indonesia on the tragic loss of lives following last Saturday's earthquake.

Highlighting the theme "Towards a More Dynamic and Cohesive NAM: Challenges of the 21st Century", His Royal Highness said without cohesiveness we end up in confrontation with no dialogue and no chance of any consensus.

The Prince also said that dynamism is what this movement has always stood for.

Following are the excerpts of His Royal Highness's statement:

"I have a couple of things to say about our theme. I think it is a very good one. It offers two excellent ideas: 'Cohesiveness' and 'Dynamism'.

"These are both very big words, Chairman, so I would like to put them in simple terms, basically, because that is the way our people can understand what we are trying to do.

"So, I will start with 'Cohesiveness'.

"I would sum it up by saying that this is the way we set up links between our region and other regional groups in Africa, Latin America, other parts of Asia and why we expanded our dialogue relations all over the world.

"The main hope is to share experiences and ideas and, very simply, to get to know people better, understand each other and see how we can all help one another.

"Briefly, it is a way of handling diversity. It says, 'diversity is good'. It makes us stronger and it makes it much easier to have peaceful dialogue.

"So since this movement is one of the most diverse groups of all, diversity should be our greatest strength. That is how I see 'cohesiveness', Chairman.

"Without it, we wend up in confrontation with no dialogue and no chance of any consensus. It is therefore very important indeed.

"Next, the other part of our theme, 'dynamism'. In other words, if diversity means strength, how can we use it to produce some action.

"Let us take our response to terrorism, for example. Slowly, I think we are beginning to see some progress. This is good to see but it is largely defensive and I think we need to do more than just respond. We need more action on long-term solutions and the kind of action that you could really call 'dynamic'.

An excellent example of this was the lead the OIC gave a few years ago in setting up inter-faith dialogues to promote tolerance. That seemed to me a very good idea. It has been repeated in our region, largely through the efforts of Indonesia and our regional colleague and dialogue partners. It encourages people to show tolerance and goodwill and not to divide the world up into: 'we' and 'them'.

"That is what I understand by being 'dynamic' and, after all, it is what this movement has always stood for. Not 'we' and 'them' but 'all of us' working together.

"Consequently, whatever specific proposals we have for our leaders at their Summit in Cuba, I hope they can direct us all towards the ideas behind this theme: tolerance, dialogue, confidence in our own future, and, especially, confidence in our own ability to shape it." - Borneo Bulletin (30th May 2006)