Your Excellencies – Presidents,
Prime Ministers and Ministers, Dear friends,
It is my special pleasure to address you on behalf of the Republic of Croatia, one of the successor states of the Yugoslav federation which, under the leadership of its President, a Croat, Josip Broz Tito, played a crucial role in the foundation of the non-aligned movement.
I am pleased that this Summit today is also attended by high-ranking representatives of most of the successor countries of the former Yugoslavia, which was not the case with the last Summit in Havana, where only Croatia was present. On the one hand this is paying off a debt to one's own history, and on the other also proof that the awareness of the non-aligned countries as countries that continue to play a significant role on the political stage today, although in essentially different circumstances, has ripened.
It is true: much has changed since the Bandung conference, the Brioni meeting of Tito, Nehru and Nasser and the first Non-Aligned Summit in Belgrade in 1961. First of all the Cold War ended and the East and the West disappeared in the political sense of the word. The conflict between the two dangerously escalated at that time and it was the non-aligned movement – which was growing in size – that, to a large extent, defused this confrontation.
This, however, does not mean that the non-aligned movement lost its significance or its purpose; although its name reflects circumstances no longer existing and although the task they had at that time – to prevent the conflict between the two blocs – no longer exists. I can best illustrate this by the fact that my country is a NATO member, but this does not preclude it from being present in the non-aligned movement in the capacity of an observer as well.
A number of problems of the contemporary world calls for engagement of countries assembled in this movement. I refer here to the problem of development or rather underdevelopment, further to the global economic crisis, the energy and food crisis, pollution of the environment and climate change with its potentially intimidating consequences. I refer to terrorism too, to that which is beyond any doubt terrorism, as well as to trans-national crime, human and drug trafficking.
However, I refer in the first place to the need for the creation of a new world order. Today, we live in a world dominated by one social and economic system. We live in a world that has passed a brief, but by no means glorious period of uni-polarism and in a world that is now necessarily returning to multi-polarism.
Finally, we live in a world in which it seemed that the neo-liberal model would triumph, the model that introduced itself as the victor over the model of the political East, the model that is now – literally in front of our eyes and at our expense – definitely caving in. This is the challenge facing all of us! The global economic crisis is a direct consequence of the worn-out condition of the neo-liberal model. Remedies that this model offers can only be used to temporarily patch up wounds, which means to postpone the new outbreak of the disease to some other occasion, while the disease itself cannot be completely cured.
The name of the cure is change, the name of the cure is evolution. Countries assembled in the non-aligned movement feel very much the consequences of those acute problems of the present-day world that I have already mentioned. It is up to those countries to offer a way out – through their mutual cooperation and solidarity as well as through cooperation with countries outside this movement.
I lay special emphasis on this very point because in the mutually interconnected, and through this interdependent world, each problem, whether we call it regional or not, is in fact a global problem. And each global problem calls for a global response. In this context I have to highlight the importance of the United Nations, in spite of all the weaknesses the world organisation has displayed so far.
The UN has been and remains to be an irreplaceable instrument for maintenance of peace and security in the world, and one of the tasks of the non-aligned movement is to give a constructive contribution to the efforts aimed at reforming the United Nations. Thus, global responses to global problems can be found only through mutual cooperation, through patient discussions, by shunning any kind of exclusion or intolerance, whatever the grounds for it, through readiness to make compromises, but always provided that one does not give up on some key principles.
In the first place, one has to persist on the principle that each country has the right to choose its own path and accomplish it in the way that respects its specific features. This does not imply denial of some universal values such as the rule of the people – democracy, respect for human rights, equality of all people and equality in the relations among states.
Quite the opposite! Departing from these universal values we need to try to develop an order whose ultimate goal will be not only the right to development but also materialisation of development of each country and each people, an order that will rely on unity within diversity but also an order in which it will be possible to seek and find solutions to problems of the present-age regardless of differences and departing from the already mentioned universal principles.
The non-aligned need to establish themselves as a new force, as allies of all those who wish to finally start to narrow the gap between the rich and poor, who aspire to social justice, who consider that no one has acquired the monopoly to rule over others on the basis of one's own power and strength, or the right to impose his model on others; it is only a matter of shouldering greater responsibility both for oneself, one's country and people, and for others too.
I conclude with a quote: "The non-aligned do not need to ask anyone to recognise their right to participate on equal terms in the resolution of world problems. They simply possess this right and should use it by being united, organised and active. This means that in the future too they have to shoulder their share of responsibility and obligations as one of the undoubtedly most influential factors in the struggle for further development of international relations, for strengthening of peace, security, independence and equality, for economic and social progress in the world." Unquote.
I have repeated the words uttered at the Non-Aligned conference in Cairo in 1964 by Josip Broz Tito. The vitality of this quote is the best proof of the vitality of the non-aligned movement.
I wish you success in your further work and activities!