Praise Be to God

Peace and Prayer Be upon His Kith and His Kin

Your Excellency Dr. Mahatir Muhammad, Prime Minister of Malaysia and President of the Thirteenth Summit of Non-Aligned Countries

Your Majesties, Your excellencies, Your highnesses, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. prime minister, on your accession to the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement. I am sure you will give it the impetus it needs to be able to voice and echo the concerns of the developing world. In this regard, the kingdom of Morocco assures you of its full support.

May I also extend my congratulations to the Republic of South Africa and President Thabo Mbeki for the outstanding work accomplished during his tenure at the helm of your Movement.

Mr. President,

It is now almost half a century since the Non-Aligned Movement came into being. During this period it has been confronted with major challenges, including those of securing decolonization, establishing modern states, and fighting poverty and under-development, two scourges which are potentially as serious and dangerous for world peace and security as was the bipolarization of the planet during the cold war. Furthermore, the Movement has struggled to secure a more equitable international order, and it is now striving to rise to the challenges of globalization and to tackle the danger of terrorism.

However, if the latest developments in the world tend to confirm the validity of our movement's vision, why is it then, that the anticipated success in defending its just causes is not forthcoming?

The answer, in short, is that our movement has lacked the authority and political will needed to press our case. Without blaming each other, we must admit that we are all somewhat responsible for this lack of efficiency.

We should therefore look to the future and focus our efforts and energies on restructuring our movement to make it a powerful international advisory body, capable of helping to make this world of ours a better place.

As Chairman of the Group of 77, I am keen to work towards this objective, by mobilising all our resources to ensure that the voice of our nations is duly heard and taken into account in major international debates and forums.

In this connection, Morocco hopes to make South-South cooperation a priority issue. It goes without saying that it is in the interest of our countries to promote cooperation and partnership between them, by enhancing their self-reliance in their joint effort to meet the challenges of globalizations. This is a dynamic and complex phenomenon, with ever-growing economic and social ramifications. It is an irreversible process with a potential to trigger off an unprecedented expansion of the world economy, and cause national economies to be more and more interdependent.

It is a fact that developed countries are adequately equipped to adjust their economies to the new world context; but what can the countries of the South do today to cope with major constraints which might hinder their gradual and effective integration into the world market, or might even exclude them form the globalization process altogether? It is, therefore, high time to enforce the decisions made at the multilateral level, with a view to controlling the globalization process in a way which safeguards the interests of developing countries.

Thus, as far as the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus is concerned, there is particular need to ensure that the economic and financial policies of the relevant multilateral institutions are consistent with each other. The aim is to harmonize the efforts made by the international community and devote them to mobilising national and international resources for the purposes of development and of external debt reduction.

Moreover, it is important to design an international financial architecture capable of protecting the international financial system, particularly financial markets in developing countries, against the devastating effects of sudden crises and unbridled speculation.

Furthermore, the negotiations initiated by the Doha Process should lead to the establishment of a fair and balanced international trade system which has the potential to give tangible expression to the special an differentiated treatment principles, and also to open the markets of the North, on a preferential basis, to goods and services which are important to developing countries in terms of export.

In addition, there are real dangers which pose a particular threat to populations in the South, especially the alarming extension of poverty, the inability to contain the spread epidemics and devastating diseases, the irreversible damage caused to the climate, to the environment and to biodiversity, and also the dwindling water resources. All these hazards warrant prompt implementation of the recommendations of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Mr. President,

Given its doctrine, its broad and diversified membership and the wide cross-cultural spectrum it represents, our Movement can, indeed must, play a significant role in the resolution of a number of regional conflicts which are a serious threat to regional and international peace and security.

In this context, careful attention and a great deal of energy must be devoted to the African continent which is still suffering the exacerbation of devastating regional strife. Morocco is of the view that, notwithstanding the numerous efforts made by African countries and by other partners and institutions, the international community has not, so far, been able to come up with appropriate solutions to settle these conflicts.

With courage and determination, Africa has decided to take control of its own destiny, mainly through the implementation of the NEPAD initiative which should be fully supported and encouraged.

There is a pressing need for our Movement to use its full weight and influence to deal with Middle East conflict poses a serious threat to international peace and security, because of Israel's stubborn occupation of Arab territories and its persistent aggression against defenceless Palestinians. We hope this summit will lead to efficient efforts being resumed in support of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace for all peoples of the region. To achieve this, it is necessary to restore dialogue and go back to the negotiating table, in accordance with international legality.

In this context, we reaffirm the right of the brotherly Palestinian people to an independent state, with Al-Quds Al-Shareef as its capital.

Morocco is following with deep concern the current developments in Iraq, and urges for the scourge of war to be averted through adequate implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions.

Mr. President, a new world seems to be emerging before us, bringing with it so many uncertainties along with unprecedented dangers which we will have to deal with.

Among these uncertainties and hazards, the danger of international terrorism is being given special consideration by the Summit. In this regard, I am sure that the Non-Aligned Movement can and should, through multilateral consensual efforts, join in the struggle being waged against such a serious threat which can by no means be accepted or tolerated. It is a true menace to international peace and security.

International peace and security in this new context can only be safeguarded by a strong and efficient universal Organization. This is why our Movement must continue to wield all its clout to maintain the role of the United Nations Organization, mainly by supporting the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan in this quest for peaceful solutions to conflicts.

Morocco, as a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and a staunch advocate of its noble ideals, pledges to endeavour, during its term of office as Chairman of the "Group of 77", to rally support for efforts to build a new world where the values of democracy, along with security, justice and solidarity. By working towards this objective, we will show how loyal we are to the spirit of the forefathers of our Movement, and we will earn the respect of coming generations.

Wassalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.