The inauguration meeting of the Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement took place with the attendance of up to 200 delegates from almost 50 states on the initiative of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic Mr Ilham Aliyev in Spain’s capital city of Madrid on 28 November, the press and public relations department of the Milli Majlis told APA.
Chair of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan Sahiba Gafarova opened the inauguration meeting. She welcomed the participants and announced that today a foundation was being laid for the parliamentary dimension of the co-operation amongst the Participating States – the dimension that had remained unexplored for 60 years. The aim that the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement had in mind when they built this forum sixty years ago consisted in promoting peaceful coexistence and sustainable development of all nations in entire compliance with the Bandung Principles. Their far-reaching wisdom and determination resulted in the establishment of an international platform, the second largest grouping of states worldwide, aiming to unite like-minded members of the international community.
The Chair of the Milli Majlis said that the humankind was going through extremely difficult times currently. The mounting political tensions and crises accompanied by a lack of respect to international law, continuous rise in discrimination, racism and xenophobia, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on socio-economic conditions, climate change, and other challenges of universal concern necessitate the mobilisation of global efforts, in the spirit of multilateralism, international cooperation and solidarity.
Sahiba Gafarova then referenced the successful global initiatives aimed against the COVID-19 pandemic that had been put forth on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement by its Chairman, President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev. Those initiatives earned the well-deserved international recognition and support.
‘Organising a summit-level meeting of the NAM Contact Group in response to the COVID-19 crisis, establishing a consolidated database on the basic humanitarian and medical needs of NAM Member States in their fight against the pandemic, convening the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on COVID-19, and adopting UN Human Rights Council resolutions on the equitable, affordable, timely and universal access to the COVID-19 vaccines for all countries are only a few examples of the measures undertaken. On 17 November 2021, upon the initiative of the NAM, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on unfair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines with the overwhelming majority of votes,’ Sahiba Gafarova continued.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences have once again demonstrated that the interconnectedness generated by globalisation cause more rapid multiplication of the effects of the challenges we face. The situation that we are facing brings to the fore the pressing need in maintaining the co-operative spirit bonding the executive and legislative authorities of our countries. Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the parliaments have been authorising legal acts on elimination of its adverse effects on the populations, thanks to which activity the governments have been able to enact adequate responses.
The Chair of the Milli Majlis emphasised that it was important in such a fateful international situation that the legislatures of the Non-Aligned Movement Participating States would complement internationally the efforts that the executive authorities of their respective countries were making. She also stressed the need to reinforce and promote the principles and values of the Non-Aligned Movement. The assembly were told that the State and of Government Heads decided at the Baku Summit of the Organisation held on 25-26 October 2019 to broaden and deepen interaction and co-operation with the parliamentarians of their countries. It is based on the understanding and the recognition of the dramatic part that parliamentarians can play in ensuring the complete and effective compliance with the fundamental principles of the Movement that the Azerbaijani Chairmanship has initiated the emergence of the NAM Parliamentary Network.
The Network that is being founded today is expected to make an input of its own to enhancing the awareness of the Movement’s ideas and principles and to promotion of those ideas and principles amongst and within the populations of the NAM Member States. Besides, the new entity can serve as a co-operation site for the parliamentarians of those states. Moreover, the Network will create an opportunity for the exchange of parliamentary experience in the field of peace, security, human rights, and development; ensure parliamentary support to the implementation of commitments and obligations undertaken by the NAM Member States pursuant to the declarative documents of major NAM events.
‘This platform will provide a forum for the input of parliamentarians in addressing the issues of common concern,’ Sahiba Gafarova pointed out.
The Network is expected to create and sustain ties with other international parliamentary institutions, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) whilst serving the aforementioned values and goals. And the next assembly of the Parliamentary Network is due to take place in Baku next year.
As she was concluding her introductory speech, Sahiba Gafarova informed the audience of the procedural documents and working methods of the NAM Parliamentary Network and wished the inauguration meeting success.
The inauguration meeting went on with Chair of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova acting as its moderator.
Chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Duarte Pacheco called for exchange of experience and further expansion of bilateral connexions, sizing up global problems and finding solutions to them jointly. The foundation of the NAM Parliamentary Network is yet another opportunity to do that, a new platform to strengthen dialogue, co-operation and democracy, Mr Pacheco pointed out.
IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong, in turn, noted that the Parliamentary Network was going to contribute to affirming peace and stability world-wide, adding that it was especially necessary to intensify the dialogue of legislatures and tap the whole power of parliamentary diplomacy now that the world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Chungong pointed out the relevant significance of the emergence of the Parliamentary Network.
Chairman of the Great National Assembly of Turkey Mustafa Şentop, in turn, said that the Non-Aligned Movement that had existed for sixty years now and united 120 countries nowadays had a tremendous potential in maintaining justice and peace internationally. Mr Şentop voiced his assuredness of the Non-Aligned Movement going to become yet stronger through the steps made to promote its principles during the Azerbaijani Chairmanship. The on-going COVID-19 pandemic had once again highlighted the injustice occurring worldwide; meanwhile, the newly-founded Parliamentary Network would make co-operation deeper still, Mustafa Şentop added with conviction.
Certain threats overshadow the world and its democratic values and so, it is especially important to broaden inter-parliamentary dialogue for the sake of solving those global problems, Chairman of the National Assembly of Pakistan Asad Qaiser said in his speech. The Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement that is being set up today will become one of the most essential platforms upon which to address the challenges the humankind is facing, in the opinion of Mr Qaiser.
The other speakers were Chairman of the People’s Representative Council of Indonesia Puan Maharani, Chairman of the National Assembly of Namibia Peter Katjavivi, Chairman of the House of Representatives of the Federal Parliament of Nepal Agni Prasad Sapkota, Chairman of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco Enaam Mayara, Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Iran Ali Nikzad, Vice Speaker of the Parliament of the Yemen Republic Mohammad al-Shaddadi, Head of the International Relations Committee of the Egyptian Parliament Karim Abdelkarim Dervish, MP of the Indian Parliament Sanjay Jaiswal, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Konstantin Kosachev, TURKPA Secretary General Mehmet Süreyya Er, Chairman of the Arab Parliament Adel bin Abdulrahman Al Asoomi, Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Co-Operation Parliamentary Assembly Asaf Hajiyev and Head of the External Relations Committee of the Cuban National Assembly Yolanda Ferrer Gomez. They all underscored the significance of the establishment of the NAP Parliamentary Network and wished the organisation every success.
The Madrid Declaration on the institution of the Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement was adopted in conclusion of the inauguration meeting.