Closing address by President Nelson Mandela at the 12th Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the countries of the Non-Aligned Movement

3 September 1998

Your Majesties
Your Royal Highnesses
Your Excellencies
Distinguished delegates and observers

The decisions of this XII Summit Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement will carry us forward into the new century and millennium.

As we close it, we can firmly conclude that we have recommitted ourselves to the common vision and project of the reconstruction and development of the countries of the South.

That vision is driven by our firm determination to act together as we strive to raise the living standards and improve the quality of life of all our peoples on a sustained basis.

Thus, we commit ourselves to work tirelessly for the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment.

Among the objectives we seek to achieve in this regard are the emancipation of women, respect for the rights of children, the development of the youth, the social integration of the disabled, the provision of jobs and the expansion of access to education and health services.

We are determined to continue to generate the human and material resources within our own countries which will enable us to accomplish these goals.

We will therefore continue our struggle to wipe out corruption which, among other things, diverts resources away from the poor.

We are committed to the pursuit of the goals of peace and stability in our countries and regions, democracy and good governance, convinced that the purpose of government is to serve the interests of the people, all of whom desire peace and a life of dignity.

We are determined to find practical ways in which to increase mutually beneficial cooperation among the countries of the South, in all spheres of human activity and informed by a spirit of solidarity, shared interests and a common destiny.

At the same time, we seek closer cooperation with the countries of the North, on the basis of respect for the sovereignty of all countries, equality among the nations ad mutually beneficial cooperation.

The common agenda we seek to pursue with these countries also includes the construction of a just world economic order which must address, among other things; increased development assistance, the removal of the burden of the external debt of the developing countries, better access for our products into the markets of the developed economies and improved inflows of long-term investments into our countries.

Accordingly, we will use the decisions arrived at during this XII Summit Meeting to pursue a practical programme that is directed at ensuring that the development agenda of the countries of the South finds a proper place in world politics and the world economy, and which confirms the supreme relevance of the Non-Aligned Movement to the resolution of all the major issues which confront humanity.

To achieve this, we will continue to focus on the critically important questions of the restructuring of the United Nations and the redirection of other multi-lateral organisations to ensure that they also address the aspirations of the peoples of the South.

Consequently, we will take all necessary measures to ensure that the Non-Aligned Movement functions in a manner which will enable it to discharge these responsibilities, in the interests of the poor people of our countries.

The goal of peace in our countries and the world remains at the centre of our perspective for the further development of human civilisation.

We will therefore continue to act to encourage the peaceful resolution of conflicts within and between countries, to defeat terrorism and vigorously to pursue the objective of nuclear disarmament.

We close the XII Summit Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement convinced that the masses of our people look forward to the 21st Century and the Third Millennium as an era of upliftment for the poor of the world, and African Renaissance and the sustained progress of the peoples of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

It is to the fulfillment of this hope that we dedicate both ourselves and this historic XII Summit Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.

I thank you all for the constructive manner in which you have approached our work and wish you a safe journey back to your countries.

When you have time, please visit us again to see something of this country and its people, who will always welcome you as comrades-in arms.

Thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation