Thursday, October 01, 2015

HM Sultan Brunei: Addressing Terrorism's Root Causes



RASIDAH HAB
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Thursday, October 1, 2015

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, yesterday underlined the importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism and extremism.

In a titah at the 70th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly General Debate Session at the UN Headquarters Building in New York, the monarch said: “We need to ensure that irresponsible parties do not exploit the despair and suffering of others to fuel their own extremist agendas.”

His Majesty touched on several issues such as Brunei’s commitment to peace and stability, the need to address root causes of terrorism and extremism, the need for preventive diplomacy and fulfilling the UN member states’ national and collective responsibilities.

“With a membership of 193, the expectation will inevitably be high on the effectiveness of our organisation in addressing the ever increasing issues that affect the lives of the people we represent. So I am pleased that our new development agenda embraces most, if not all, of these concerns. Its inclusiveness signifies the trust and faith that we have in our organisation,” he said.

The monarch said the admission of Brunei into the UN in 1984 was a global endorsement of its sovereignty and territorial integrity as a fully independent nation.

“Since then we have benefitted extensively from this membership. The UN has provided us with a platform to enhance our bilateral and multi-lateral relations with our friends and partners. Through the UN, we have also been able to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the maintenance of peace, stability and development. Brunei firmly believes that tolerance, compassion and social harmony are essential for lasting peace and security. This has resulted in the close knit community we have enjoyed to this day. Such values have been the foundation of our country’s stability and prosperity which has provided an enabling environment for development,” he said.

His Majesty added that in ASEAN, the member states shared principles of territorial integrity, non-interference, consensus, rule of law and good governance which guide efforts towards closer cooperation for peace, stability and prosperity.

“It is these national and regional experiences which constitute our contribution to the UN as part of the multilateral process. It is through the UN that I envisioned the creation of a caring global community, with similar values and principles which can unleash our potential to work and achieve greater things together,” he said.

“To bring us closer together, we should nurture more cultural exchanges to foster greater understanding to live as a family of nations. In this manner, we may be able to prevent a new conflict from happening and better utilise resources of socio-economic development, he added.

With the World Bank putting the average cost of civil war as equivalent to more than 30 years of GDP growth for a medium-sized developing country, His Majesty reiterated that compassion and social harmony were essential for lasting peace and security.

“The cost of peacekeeping during and after civil wars is extremely high and above all else, it is impossible to place a value on the loss of lives. Preventive diplomacy is therefore a cost-effective means of addressing conflicts and certainly an integral part of conflict prevention efforts. This is a long-term process and a worthwhile investment in which the UN has made some headway. However, more can be done to enhance conflict prevention,” he said, adding that officers of the Secretary General (Office), special envoys and resident political missions were some of the key tools of preventive diplomacy.

His Majesty shared UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s view on the need to strengthen the partnership between the UN and regional or sub-regional organisations.

“Such organisations have a unique influence and easier access to crises situations in their respective regions where the UN should be able to leverage on these strengths to diffuse tensions before it escalates into conflict,” the monarch said.

“Through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN member states along with other member participants have long worked together towards creating an atmosphere of trust and confidence. Two years ago, ASEAN adopted a work plan on preventive diplomacy and its implementation has made significant progress and contributed towards maintenance of peace and security of the region. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the UN for providing coaching and training programmes to help ASEAN implement this plan,” he said.

His Majesty believed that UN is in the best position to promote the necessary cooperation and partnership based on mutual respect, understanding and tolerance that prevent wars and conflict, religious prosecutions, violent ideological confrontations and terrorism.

The monarch also reiterated support for all efforts by the international community to prevent and eliminate all forms of terrorism.

He said a lasting peaceful solution for Palestine is long overdue.

“This is why we need to resolve the plight of our Palestinian brothers and sisters which remains as the core of conflict in the Middle East. For over 60 years, Palestinians have struggled to achieve self determination. In this regard, I am pleased to see that Palestine has been accepted as a member in various international bodies and this has been reflected to the historic decision of the General Assembly to have the flag of Palestine flying proudly together with flags of other sovereign and independent nations of this world body. All of which are positive developments that should contribute towards attaining recognition for rights of the Palestinian people to statehood,” he said.

His Majesty reiterated the commitment to continue working with others to ensure that UN remains a strong force for peace, security and human rights.

He said the success of the organisation lies in their own collective efforts that formed UN’s true strengths.

The 70th anniversary is not only an occasion to celebrate our achievements as well as to reflect on matters that require our urgent action.

The UN’s existence for the last 70 years is testament to its relevance. It has become the world body we look up to on all aspects of (immunity) and it has no equal, His Majesty said.

Established in 1945, in the wake of the mass destruction brought about by the Second World War, its main focus was restoring peace and security. Today its mandate has grown hugely to include emerging challenges and evolving threats such as the proliferation of weapon of mass destruction, climate change, pandemic diseases, terrorism and violent extremism.

His Majesty said, “As part of a comprehensive global mandate, it is also being tasked to address multi-dimensional socio-economic matters. We recognised the UN is not a panacea for all the world’s woes but this has not diminished its overall success. On that note, we commend the roles of all the UN agencies and their valuable works to improve people’s lives around the world.

One profound achievement, His Majesty noted, was on the containment of pandemic diseases which posed a serious threat to the world’s population.

The Brunei Times

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