Brunei Darussalam affirmed its commitment to universal values of tolerance and respect while upholding the institutions, structures and due process of international affairs the United Nations (UN) embodies.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, underscored the Sultanate's stance in an address at the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
In a craftily worded speech, HRH said the UN doesn't need to adjust itself fundamentally but in the structure of the organisation there are some things that need to be "adjusted".
Drawing a parallel between the UN and Asean and how the latter has adjusted despite being one of the most unstable regions on earth four decades ago as a confrontation point for the national interests of great powers and a focal point of the Cold War, HRH said Asean has adjusted. It will continue to operate in the interest of its community of 600 million citizens, not by conflict or confrontation and not by compromising national values, but by peaceful consensus.
In the same way, HRH hoped the structure of the United Nations can be gradually and carefully "adjusted".
Earlier, HRH said Brunei welcomes the five-year action agenda UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon set out and the common vision it offers us.
"At its heart, this vision is of tolerance, respect and understanding between nations. Sadly, over the last two weeks, we have witnessed events that present a very different vision," HRH said, noting that the Sultanate, in considering them, has stated its unreserved condemnation of their cause.
"We have equally strongly advised all our people, of our government's absolute rejection of the violence and extremism that have been their result.
"Here at the United Nations, we congratulate the Secretary-General on his statement about the matter. In doing so, we reaffirm our commitment to universal values of tolerance and respect."
HRH added that Brunei upholds the institutions, structures and due processes of international affairs that this great organisation embodies.
Touching on the theme for this year's General Debate, HRH pointed out that the key word here is 'adjustment'.
"I think it is well-chosen. It suggests change that is carefully and gradually done. It does not invite confrontation," HRH said.
According to HRH, this matches the main purpose of the annual meeting.
"It is in the structure of the organisation that we see a need for some things to be 'adjusted'. The reason (for a structural adjustment at the UN) appears clear to many of those of us who are small both physically and politically.
"The current structure appears far too often to be the deep-seated cause of the headline news I referred to.
"We see it as a 20th Century structure designed to meet 20th Century realities. It is personified in the 64 years of suffering by the ordinary people of Palestine and in all other desperate situations in which the root causes of conflict and confrontation are still buried in the last century."
According to HRH, this must change, as "in our globalised world, we are all equally inter-dependent and equally responsible".
"Like many other members of this Assembly, we believe that the current structure does not truly reflect this," HRH added. "As such, it needs adjusting so that ancient political fault lines are repaired. The form we hope it will increasingly take will be like some regions today that operate from a basis of consensus, rather than compromise and confrontation."
That is what we have accepted in our own region of Southeast Asia, HRH said.
"It is the spirit behind Asean's present focus of building a peaceful and mutually respectful community of nations regardless of background, economic resources or national preoccupations. It is why we greatly appreciate the strong support and goodwill that is constantly shown to us by our many partners from outside the region.
"It is also why we in Brunei Darussalam, the smallest of all the members, feel honoured and privileged to be the Asean Chairman next year. It is an association of neighbours who have deliberately chosen to 'adjust' their region's previous identity.
"Until 45 years ago, it was one of the most unstable regions on earth, a confrontation point for the national interests of great powers and a focal point of the Cold War. Now, it has 'adjusted'. It is determined to operate in the interests of its community of 600 million citizens."
HRH expressed his confidence that it will continue to do so, not by conflict or confrontation and not by compromising national values, but by peaceful consensus.
"In the same way, we hope the structure of the United Nations can be gradually and carefully 'adjusted'," HRH concluded.
- Borneo Bulletin
(29 September 2012)