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Source: Government of Singapore

Senior Minister of State (SMS), Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman is in the Republic of Azerbaijan to attend the XVIII Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), as Special Envoy of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
               On 26 October 2019, SMS Maliki delivered Singapore’s National Statement in which he emphasised the importance of multilateralism, and the need for all states to work together to uphold international law and norms.  SMS Maliki also urged NAM Member States to defend the Bandung Principles and maintain our independent stand as nations beholden to none.  As 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Azerbaijan, SMS Maliki said that Singapore looked forward to strengthening our warm ties with Azerbaijan.

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26 OCTOBER 2019


Distinguished Colleagues,

1             I would like to congratulate Azerbaijan on assuming the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) for the next three years.  I would also like to thank Azerbaijan for its generous hospitality and for hosting us in the beautiful and historic city of Baku.  I am especially pleased to lead Singapore’s delegation to the 18th NAM Summit during the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Azerbaijan.  We look forward to celebrating more milestones with Azerbaijan and strengthening our warm ties.  I also congratulate Azerbaijan for concurrently organising the inaugural NAM Youth Summit, which will allow today’s leaders to hear the voices of those who will inherit our work and our world.

2             In many respects, the world today is vastly different from 1961, when NAM was established.  The term “global warming” was not used then.  The US held the largest share of global industrial production.  The Cold War was ongoing, and geopolitical divisions were clear.  Many countries were isolated as air travel was exclusive and expensive.  Today, the world is more connected than ever before.  Disruptive technologies have changed traditional economic models and flattened the global business playing field.  At the same time, new transboundary challenges such as climate change and terrorism have emerged.

3             Yet, in some respects, we are facing geopolitical challenges not too different from those present at NAM’s founding.  Once again, multilateralism is under pressure while major powers jostle for dominance.  In many countries, people are questioning the benefits of globalisation, while nationalist and protectionist sentiments have grown.  Multilateral dialogue and institutions are criticised as a waste of time.  But dialogue is never a waste of time.  It is the first step towards building mutual understanding, which is critical if countries are to work together and resolve differences.  This is the value of NAM, so long as it continues to be an independent platform for non-aligned States to freely discuss issues of concern.

4             Azerbaijan’s thoughtfully chosen theme for this Summit, “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure a concerted and adequate response to the challenges of the contemporary world”, is one we should seriously reflect on.  The Bandung Principles of non-interference, respect for sovereignty, peaceful co-existence and cooperation are as relevant today as when first put to paper in 1955.  They remind all States to work together in a respectful, constructive manner and to uphold the framework of international law and norms we have built over the decades.  I urge fellow NAM Members to defend these principles and maintain our independent stand as nations beholden to none and working together for the good of all.  Singapore is fully committed to working closely with Azerbaijan throughout its Chairmanship of NAM. 

5             Thank you, Mr Chairman.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News