The 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which began in the capital city of Iran, Tehran, on August 30 not only saw Bhutan being elected as one of the vice chairs of the summit and Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley informing participants of the Gross National Happiness (GNH) model of development. It also provided a forum for the Bhutanese delegation to interact with several Heads of states, representatives and lobby for Bhutan’s candidature for a seat in the UN Security Council.
Summing up the keynote address, Lyonchhen said “it is Bhutan’s cherished dream to be able to contribute to sustained global peace and security through non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council.” “To this end, we seek your blessing.”
On the sidelines of the summit, Lyonchhen and the delegation met with several Heads of States and Governments, including delegations. Apart from the host country’s President, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Lyonchhen met with the President of Benin Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, who currently holds the presidency of the African Union, His Royal Highness the Prince of Jordan Hassan bin Talal and special envoy of the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard.
Interactions were also held with leaders of the delegation of Vietnam, Algeria, Namibia and the Chairman of the State Council of Oman (Majlis al-Dawla).
The leaders discussed issues of mutual interest and also on Bhutan’s candidature for non permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, the PM delivered a statement at the summit’s opening session as the Vice Chair of the summit on behalf of the Asia-Pacific states of the NAM after the Summit opened with Iran assuming the Chair from Egypt for the next three years.
Lyonchhen conveyed the gratitude of the Asian group members of the NAM to the people and government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He said that “just as we are touched by the generosity and warmth of the Iranian hospitality, we are also inspired by the history and culture of this great nation. And we are certain that the city of Tehran will deliver to our summit a very successful outcome.”
The summit’s inaugural session was also marked by opening remarks of President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Egyptian President Muhammed Morsi and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
Lyonchhen said that as Egypt passes on to Iran the mantle of the Movement’s leadership, the Asia Pacific region wishes to place on record deep appreciation for the outstanding manner in which the outgoing Chair steered NAM through a tumultuous period. One certainty in out turbulent world, Lyonchhen said, is the rapidity and growing complexity of change and so the future years will be increasingly challenging. “But the dedication and commitment with which Iran assumed the role of stewardship, give us the confidence that NAM will continue to be a powerful and positive force in shaping the destiny of human society,” he said adding that to this end, the Asian group welcomes the offer of Venezuela to host the next summit.
He also said that the high quality of the reports and the outcome documents which are about to be adopted, bear not only evidence of the knowledge but hard work of the teams of both the outgoing and current chairs.
Lyonchhen said that they also speak eloquently of the spirit of understanding and accommodation with which the member states are prepared to cooperate towards a more peaceful, harmonious and happier world. He assured the gathering that the Asian pacific group will continue to contribute actively and meaningfully to the principles, vision and endeavour of the Movement.
Hundreds of officials from the 120 member states, 17 observer states in addition to special invited guest countries and organisations have gathered in Tehran. Apart from the summit of the Heads of States and Government on August 30 and 31, the Summit was preceded by the Ministerial Meeting of the Foreign Ministers and the Senior Officials Meeting.
Lyonchhen is accompanied by the Minister-in- Charge for Foreign Affairs, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Cabinet Secretary Dasho Penden Wangchuk, Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations in Geneva Daw Penjo and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.