Crown Prince addresses UNGA

Mr President, Secretary-General, Your Excellencies,

On behalf of His Majesty and the People of Brunei Darussalam, I would like to congratulate our new President, His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

Assalamualaikum, Your Excellency, and our congratulations on your election. These are not only personal congratulations. We also congratulate your country, Qatar, our fellow member of the United Nations. We greatly appreciate your country's significant efforts to promote dialogue, consultation and mediation in many difficult situations, both in its own region and far beyond.

So, we thank you as its representative and warmly welcome you in the General Assembly as the representative of us all. We would also like to express our appreciation to your predecessor, His Excellency Joseph Deiss.

His term of office has seen another impressive contribution by the United Nations to meeting the great international challenges members face in the first decade of this new century.

Some of this work began right here in this building with our efforts to reform the Security Council and revitalise the General Assembly. Other efforts addressed our world at large and the confrontation it faces between essential economic growth and critical environmental realities. Still others were aimed directly at the people we represent, they addressed their health and food security, they considered their personal and legal status whether at home or as members of immigrant communities, they examined the systems of governance under which they live. This is a fine record and we thank the outgoing President for his leadership. In this, he has been greatly assisted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and we offer the Secretary-General our very best wishes for the coming year.

We welcome his re-appointment and join fellow members in thanking his staff and the United Nations Volunteer Workers, Peacekeepers and United Nations Agencies for all their efforts in many extremely difficult situations. It is a tribute to their work that one of the lengthiest and most complex of all has been resolved this year. As a result, we add our own welcome to the Government and People of South Sudan as a new member of the United Nations. We also commend all parties involved in the process of dialogue, negotiation and final resolution. At the same time, it is our deepest wish that these same sentiments may soon be expressed to the parties directly involved in efforts to reach a fair and equitable Two-State Solution to the situation in Palestine.

Mr President,

You have asked us to consider the role of mediation in the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. And, in doing this, we follow the direction given by His Majesty the Sultan in his address to the General Assembly in 1984 when we had the honour of becoming a member of this great organisation. In outline, it committed us to mutual respect for territorial integrity and the principles of dialogue and negotiation in disputes no matter how long or how frustrating the process may be. We still adhere to this. We give whatever practical assistance we can whenever asked. This is done both directly in peacekeeping and monitoring efforts and indirectly through financial contributions both bilaterally and through relevant United Nations and regional bodies. In these ways, we seek to follow the commitments made in our first General Assembly Debate. Nevertheless, we recognise, more and more that these were made over a quarter of a century ago.

Twenty-five years is a common definition of a generation in human terms. That means that a new generation is now moving into positions of authority. Behind it, there is a further generation now coming of age. It has no personal memory of the global situation that shaped international policy in the Cold War era. Both generations are naturally still influenced by those times and the leaders who brought them to this point. But they are new generations for whom it is the new century that shapes world affairs. Three years ago, our statement to the General Assembly outlined our approach to this. It broadly set out what are now regarded as "the challenges of this new century". Some involve security in all its forms, political, physical and economic. Others address the natural environment and the effects of climate change.

Still others raise questions about sustainable development and many arise from the concept of "good governance", both nationally and in world organisations such as the WTO, the IMF, the G20 and even the United Nations itself. We gave our full support to the great institutions of which we are members and we will continue to do so. But our government has emphasised one thing throughout this year at all international gatherings we have been privileged to attend. It is not a change in our overall approach. It represents a particular focus. It means that more and more we are trying to identify the challenges in basic human terms. This is because we feel that such a focus directly relates to the wise theme you have proposed for this debate. We acknowledge with deep respect that successful mediation has always been a cherished objective of the United Nations and we strongly support this ideal.

At the same time, however, we maintain that no mediation can be successful unless the parties involved share common ground.

Mr President,

What concerns us is that the dynamics of the 21st century have the potential to exclude many from this common ground. It could become the exclusive territory of great unseen globalised forces, whether in the market, the workplace or in the world of great decision-making forums. These have the potential to be so divisive as to destroy any common ground. It can only be created, we believe, by ordinary people as individuals and in their families and communities who feel they are occupying it. For them, political security lies in the principles of diplomacy among all nations especially respect for each other's traditions, values, beliefs and ways of life. Physical security means the rule of law and economic security is food on the table, a job and the best possible support for health, education and old age. In all these efforts, we feel well-guided by the United Nations above all in the encouragement it is giving to the completion of the Millennium Development Goals and the confidence in the future that they give to all people. That, we believe, will lead us towards the common ground we are trying to discover, Mr President. It will be reached when it is shared by the most powerful of industrialised nations and the smallest of threatened island communities. The search for it is the immense task of the present and future generations. Only when it is concluded, we believe, can mediation successfully perform the role suggested in your theme.

Thank you. - Borneo Bulletin (28th September 2011)