Lankan foreign minister says some NAM principles are needed now
Colombo, September 16: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Prof. GL Peiris said that although the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is not a factor in international relations as it was in the past, some of its principles are now immediate and relevant. .
During ministerial sessions on “Foreign Policy and Religion” at the G20 Interfaith Forum held in Bologna, Italy, September 12-14, Peiris said: “There is a widespread belief that policy decisions foreign are often taken without any or moral factors. It’s a matter of loyalty to a group to which you belong, and then uncritically following a line of conduct that is dictated by that group. There is no attempt to probe your own conscience, to decide what is wrong, what is right in a particular situation. One does not arrive at a priori conclusions and belonging to a group, loyalty to a group, should not be considered as something which overwhelms and supplants questions relating to one’s own conscience.
“Of course, this movement started and flourished in a certain context, the context of a bipolar world. Today we live in a unipolar world. There are no longer two camps at war. But that doesn’t mean that the ideology behind the Non-Aligned Movement is totally irrelevant or obsolete. Not at all. I think if you look at the troubled world we live in, some elements of that philosophy are still very relevant and they have a kind of immediacy today that they probably didn’t have in the 1960s when the movement started. experienced its peak.
“So this is a point on which I would like to insist in order to dispel this climate of skepticism and cynicism, to consecrate a state of affairs in which foreign policy decisions are taken according to moral and ethical values. I think that’s an important point, ”said Peiris.
Request for debt forgiveness
Speaking about the biased policies of international institutions, Peiris said: “Look at the Bretton Woods institutions. The Bretton Woods institutions were also shaped in a certain political context which is the end of the Second World War but the world has changed a lot since. But these institutions remain largely as they were. Now, the developing world in particular, if the World Bank, for example, accepted a policy of debt cancellation under the excruciatingly difficult circumstances we face today, then developing countries would be able to use their own limited resources for projects related to the well-being of their populations. Now take my own country, Sri Lanka. We normally earn $ 4.2 billion a year from tourism. It almost completely stopped. Then our trade relations were affected. Money entering Sri Lanka’s treasury through the efforts of our expatriates working overseas in countries like Italy has been affected. So in this situation, if the World Bank accepted a policy of debt cancellation, I think it would speed up and greatly facilitate the economic development of our countries..“
UNSC reflects the Old Order
Speaking of the manifest inequality in the UN Security Council, Peiris said, “Look at the makeup of the Security Council. Does this in any way reflect the reality of the modern world? It is not. It reflects a certain balance of power that was only realistic at the end of World War II. But today there are other emerging powers. I will not mention countries, but the entire organization must be fundamentally overhauled to adapt it to contemporary realities. The Economic and Social Council must be strengthened. Once again, the emphasis must be on equality, on human dignity. The whole world, not part of the world. It is not a section – rich, powerful, dominating the rest of the world and using the United Nations system as an instrument of their domination. This is what creates a certain lack of confidence in the organs and structures associated with the United Nations system. So I think these are some of the critical issues, imperative issues that we need to address right now.. “
Any enlightened foreign policy must be based on the concept of a mature nation because foreign policy is in a sense an extension of domestic policy, said Peiris and added that a country must be united in formulating foreign policy. .
“You can’t do it in an acrimonious and divided way. Many of our countries, certainly my own country, we have different parts of the population speaking different languages, professing different religions. Their cultural origins are completely different. It is a problem. Now how do you work on this? I think the key to all of this, Mr. Chairman, is the education system. You know, impressionable young minds, certainly in our part of the world, the Indian subcontinent – Sri Lanka, Malaysia, that part of the world – you have different ethnic communities in schools and universities that are taught in completely different compartments. , and there is hardly any opportunity for young people to get to know each other. Not because there is hostility. There is no hostility. It’s just that they can’t talk to each other. There is no communication possible because of the language problem. Thus, not only their university life but even their cultural and social life tend to be entirely compartmentalized. Therefore, language plays a key role in communication, a link language for example.
Ethnic and religious festivals
Peiris said ethnic and religious parties play a divisive role contrary to national needs, including mature foreign policy.
“In many of our countries we have political parties that openly claim to be of ethnic character and complexion. We represent this ethnic group. We represent this religion. I don’t think this is a good idea. He does a lot of damage. In my own country, Muslims, Tamils and members of minority communities have reached the pinnacle of political power and authority as members of national political parties. National political parties! And that did not prevent their rise within the democratic system. It is therefore not necessary for them to detach themselves from the national regime, to segregate, to compartmentalize the national regime through the formation and emergence of political groups that seem sectarian. They have a very narrow perspective, and this is extremely damaging to the solidarity and unity of our countries ”, declared the Lankan minister.