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King Gyanendra's speech at the Asian-African Summit 2005, Jakarta

On April 22, 2005, King Gyanendra of Nepal addressed the Asian-African Summit at Jakarta in Indonesia. Presented below is the full text of his speech:

Address from His Majesty Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, King of Nepal, At the Asian-African Summit 2005, Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia

22 April 2005

Messrs Chairmen, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate Their Excellencies the Presidents of Indonesia and South Africa, our Co-Chairmen, for their tireless efforts in bringing to fruition this historic assembly of such a distinguished gathering from across Asia and Africa. It is a privilege for me to convey the best wishes of the people of Nepal for the success of the Summit. In the realization of this Summit, a sound sense of solidarity has been rekindled echoing the ideals our visionary leaders initiated in Bandung fifty years ago.

I also express our sincere appreciation of the excellent arrangements made for the Summit and of the warm hospitality extended to us by the Government of Indonesia since our arrival in the historic city of Jakarta.


Calamity is the perfect mirror wherein we truly get to see and know ourselves. It is in this light that we must view the recent Tsunami, a disaster of colossal scale. The memories of the devastation wrought by it will remain with us for a long time to come. Thousands of precious lives of fellow Asians were lost and several countries suffered material damages that defy calculation. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who have perished and those who have been left traumatized by this disaster. We applaud the remarkable endurance of the Government of Indonesia in successfully organizing this Summit so soon in the aftermath of the unprecedented tragedy it suffered.

Clearly, the solidarity seen during the Tsunami is a testimony to the growing spirit of camaraderie, fraternity and fellow feeling among the Asian nations. At the same time, this disaster has reinforced the need for an even stronger bond of solidarity and a common resolve to cope with such natural calamities and other disasters to which many of our countries are susceptible and which could affect millions of people.


The Bandung Conference was a landmark event with its cross-continental appeal for peace, harmony, understanding and cooperation. The Ten Principles of Bandung have been the bedrock of the Non-alignment Movement. The NAM epitomizes our conscious desire for a stable, just and peaceful world order. Fifty years on, the spirit of Bandung, with its core principles of solidarity, friendship, cooperation and mutual respect, has strong resonance in international relations and has become more relevant today than before. We are of the view that the day the Ten Principles lose their relevance, the entire edifice of international order will crumble beyond repair.


The world has entered the new millennium with unprecedented challenges as well as opportunities for mankind. The rapid expansion of information and communication technologies has brought our nations ever closer, opening new vistas for global integration. Democracy, globalization, liberalization and a free market economy have been the standard-bearers of the 21st century. The challenging phenomenon the world continues to face today is the prevalence of stark disparity between the developed and the developing and least developed countries on the one hand, and between rural and urban communities within countries, on the other.

The fight against poverty and underdevelopment remains a major challenge for us. While we strive to eradicate poverty, a new set of formidable challenges have emerged. Terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illicit trade of small arms, and the scourge of drug abuse, human trafficking, HIV AIDS and environmental degradation pose a serious threat to international peace, prosperity and security. As these are challenges from which none of us can escape, we must overcome them by forging a regime which is synergized by a spirit of sincere fellow-feeling for our collective interests.


The scourge of terrorism and with it the spread of international terrorist networks is a matter of serious concern for all of us today. Nepal condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We call for a resolute international action plan against terrorism in every nook and corner of the globe. Sustained international co-operation, including enhanced regional and global initiatives with strong support to national initiatives, is critical to dealing with terrorism. Nepal, on her part, will fight it resolutely and responsibly.

The first thing to confront in writing or reading about terrorism is that it often escapes mention, yet it stands as a major obstacle to clear thinking, adequate discussion and objective analysis. One has to think about ugly events, horrifying actions that kill and maim unsuspecting people going about their daily lives. One has to focus on the terrible effects of death, injuries and destruction on those whose worlds and bodies are torn to pieces by senseless explosions. One has to reflect on the people who undertake such inhuman merciless actions, on those who design and plan atrocities actually hoping for deadliest of results. Like the victims, like the survivors and like us, terrorists are also human beings. Reflecting on terrorist acts is the stuff of blame and tears, raised voices and raised fists, sleepless nights and nightmares. Precisely because it engages our deepest feelings and challenges our moral commitments, terrorism takes on a political potency rivaled only by war and by deep-seated ideological or religious differences. Terrorism is generally associated with war or fear of war and with ideological positioning, so today’s political agenda and most communication on the subject often bristle with issues and concerns associated with it.

Ironically, Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the Apostle of Peace and the Light of Asia, has herself been grappling with serious terrorist atrocities. Over 11,000 lives have been lost and many more have been maimed, widowed, orphaned or displaced during the last nine years of senseless terrorism. The terrorists have seriously undermined the peace and security of the country. They deny the very right to life. Indiscriminate killings, intimidation, extortion and kidnapping have been their modus operandi. In their extreme brutality, even children, women and the elderly are not spared. Children and minors have been ruthlessly recruited as militia or used as human shields. Instead of a pencil and a notebook in their hands, they are armed with lethal weapons and socket bombs. A discarded ideology of an outdated era is sadly brainwashed in their formative minds. Public infrastructures have also been the target of terrorist activities. The atrocities committed by terrorists cannot be justified on any ground.

Terrorism and the self–induced inability of the political parties and various governments to rise to the challenge of ever-emboldening terrorists were driving the country to the edge of a precipice. The nation, left with little choice, was compelled to take a decisive course. The decision we took on the first of February this year was in response to the call of our Constitutional duty to prevent the nation from further sliding down to chaos and anarchy.


Throughout the history of over 200 years, the Institution of Monarchy in Nepal has always been guided by the will and consent of the people. Our commitment to multiparty democracy, human rights and rule of law is total and unflinching. We appreciate the understanding and support of the international community for the people of Nepal in these difficult times. We strongly urge the international community for greater understanding and support in our fight against terrorism and for the restoration of peace, stability and the strengthening of democratic institutions in the country, sooner than later. The security situation in the country is gradually improving as a result of the united efforts of the government and the people since the first of February. It has enabled us to schedule elections to local bodies within a year, as a first step towards restoration of the derailed democratic process.

The threat of terrorism to democracy in Nepal is real; but it is not limited to our country alone. It is equally a threat to the peace and stability of the South Asian region and beyond. Terrorism cannot be defined in terms of geographical confines. We have seen how a small but unstable society can serve as the breeding ground for terrorism with global ramifications. The message is clear that stability of any state, particularly the smaller and vulnerable ones, is critical for global peace and stability. We should not lose sight of this fact while dealing with the menace of terrorism in our contemporary societies.


The nature of problems we are facing today demand common resolve and concerted responses at all levels - national, regional and global. We believe that multilateral mechanisms provide a good framework to collectively deal with issues of international peace for collective security and development. Nepal has unswerving faith in the noble objectives and principles of the United Nations Charter and the principles of the Non-aligned Movement. The United Nations and other multilateral institutions must be strengthened and their initiatives should be conducted in a more transparent and democratic manner consistent with changing realities. It is high time that the UN paid due attention to the problems of the small and weak economies on all fronts, including for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and beyond.


The past half a century has witnessed significant transformation in Asia and Africa. Politically, the shackles of colonialism have been severed leaving the destinies of many lands in the hands of their own leaders and people. Economically, remarkable progress has been registered in many Asian-African countries, albeit far short of their potentials. Yet, abject poverty, hunger and disease continue to haunt many countries in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. National efforts alone have proved inadequate to overcome such vast challenges. Concerted and genuine efforts in terms of enhanced development cooperation, debt relief, market access, foreign investment are but a few tools which can alleviate the hardship being faced by the least developed, land-locked and small island developing countries. We call for effective implementation of all the programmes of actions agreed internationally on various occasions.

Increased South-South cooperation is essential for meaningful North-South dialogue. It should be based on the principles of partnership, shared responsibility, mutual benefit and interdependence. The exploitation of complementary issues so as to enhance South-South Cooperation should provide a level playing field for all of us.


It is a well-known fact that the people of Asia and Africa face similar challenges but also hold vast potentials for development. We are happy to note that the Asian-African Sub-Regional Organization Conference (AASROC) process has already laid groundwork for launching a new Asia-Africa strategic partnership between our two continents, with concrete and tangible programmes. These institutions have the great potentials to bringing the two continents closer. We feel that Afro-Asian solidarity and partnership must be strengthened for a shared prosperity and wellbeing of the peoples of the two continents. This partnership and solidarity should also be instrumental in addressing the common problems faced by us today. By working together we can also contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.

Our strategic partnership must be backed by realistic goals and objectives highlighted by achievable programmes of action. Agriculture, trade and investment promotion, human resources development and sustainable natural resources utilization are some of the areas in which sharing of experiences between the two continents can be highly productive. Energy, tourism, education and training and exchange of development experiences deserve focused attention.


The world knows our continents as cradles of human civilizations and treasures of rich cultural heritage. These assets and the abundant natural resources with which our continents are endowed offer us a hope for a better future. If wisdom is the right use of knowledge, then the challenge before us is to chart a long-term vision forging a sustained partnership. Our solidarity will be judged on the touchstone of our commitments and achievements. It is our firm belief that this summit will prove yet another milestone in our journey towards peace, stability and prosperity. Our identity lies in our unity and in our common resolve to free the world from vulnerabilities and tribulations. May the glorious tradition of the Afro-Asian solidarity flourish in the new millennium.

Thank you

Source: Official Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal





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