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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	: 	CARACAS, VENEZUELA 
Tarikh/Date 	: 	01/08/90 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	THE OFFICIAL DINNER HOSTED BY HIS 
			EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF THE 
			REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA 




 His Excellency President Carlos Andres Perez,
     and Madame Perez;
Excellencies;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
    First of all, please allow me to express my sincere ap-
preciation  to you Mr. President for your very warm words of
welcome to my wife and I and to members  of  my  delegation.
We  are deeply touched by the warmth of your hospitality and
the friendship and kind sentiments that greet  us.    It  is
truly  a  pleasure  to  be  here  in  this beautiful city of
Caracas.
Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
2.   Formal diplomatic ties between Venezuela  and  Malaysia
are  still very much in its infancy, having been established
only in 1986.  As you know, our two countries have very dif-
ferent cultural backgrounds, history and language.  In addi-
tion, we are separated by vast geographical  distance.    In
conventional  terms there would perhaps be little reason for
our two countries to have much of  a  relationship  at  all.
And  yet,  you  Mr.  President  have visited Malaysia twice,
while this, my first visit to the continent of  South  Amer-
ica, is to Venezuela.
3.   Those who would seek a rationale or perhaps an explana-
tion  for  the  growth of our relations need look no further
than our mutual commitment to South-South cooperation and to
the belief that neither distance nor cultural or  linguistic
differences  are  impediments to mutually beneficial cooper-
ation.  This mutual commitment was so aptly demonstrated  in
Kuala  Lumpur  recently  when both our countries joined with
other like-minded countries to chart a new course for South-
South cooperation.  We also proposed to go  beyond  eloquent
statements  and get on with the task of implementing practi-
cal programmes that would contribute to our  respective  de-
velopment efforts.
4.   In  this  spirit,  our two countries have already begun
negotiations on a range of agreements and issues that  would
give  substance  to the ideals that we in the South have al-
ways cherished.   The  Economic  and  Technical  Cooperation
Agreement  that we are discussing, together with new methods
of promoting trade and investments will, I am confident, re-
sult in tangible benefits to both our countries.   It is  my
hope  that  a new framework for cooperation will emerge that
will serve as a model for South-South relations.
5.   My Government's commitment to  South-South  cooperation
and  to developing comprehensive and mutually beneficial re-
lations with Venezuela is fully shared by the Malaysian pri-
vate sector, some of whose members have joined  me  on  this
visit.    For  countries  such  as ours which believe in the
primacy of free-enterprise as the main  vehicle  for  growth
and  development,  the  role of the private sector is vital.
In this sense, our visit is at  a  particularly  appropriate
time  as  I  understand that Your Excellency's government is
also  pushing  ahead  with  free   market   programmes   and
privatisation.    In the short term there may well be diffi-
culties but from our own experience I know that the results,
in terms of rapid socio-economic development, more than out-
weigh the problems that crop up from time to time.  It is my
sincere hope that the private sectors of our two  countries,
long  separated by lack of information and by different ori-
entations, will now forge enduring  links  that  would  help
sustain the momentum of economic cooperation.
Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
6.   Our  world has witnessed vast changes in recent months.
The virtual elimination of super-power rivalry holds out the
promise of a more peaceful era.    I  am  not  sure  however
whether  this  will translate into a more conducive environ-
ment for the South.  For one thing, the collapse  of  Soviet
power  has now placed the industrialised North in a position
to impose its own political and economic agenda  on  others.
Economic  assistance  and access to markets are increasingly
tied to the political objectives and frequently the economic
needs of the North.
7.   At the same time, we appear to be moving from the  Cold
War  to a global economic struggle.  The developed countries
seemed determined to use every means at  their  disposal  to
block  meaningful global economic reforms that are necessary
if the South is to overcome its economic difficulties.  Quo-
tas, non-tariff barriers, democratic practices, human rights
records, exchange rates, environment, intellectual property,
treatment of illegal immigrants, classification of countries
are all being used to stifle economic growth in  the  South.
Yet  when  the  same  misdemeanours  are  perpetrated in the
North, they are acceptable.
8.   It is therefore vital for the countries of the South to
evolve common strategies in dealing with the  North  and  to
collectively seek to negotiate a more favourable global eco-
nomic  environment.    We need to coordinate our policies on
the full range of issues that confront us.   Without this  I
fear that all our efforts at strengthening bilateral cooper-
ation will not avail much.
9.   Under   Your   Excellency's  distinguished  leadership,
Venezuela has played an important role  in  galvanising  the
South  to  collective action.   Indeed, the launching of the
Final Report of the South Commission here in Caracas,  bears
testimony to Venezuela's role.  I think it is indeed fitting
that the Report is launched in Caracas some twenty-six years
after  the  formation  of  the G-77 which took place in this
beautiful city in 1964.   I very much look  forward  to  ex-
changing  views  with Your Excellency on these important is-
sues.
Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
10.  Before I conclude, let me say again  that  we  are  de-
lighted  to be here in Venezuela.  We are excited by the op-
portunities  arising  from  a  new  framework  of  sustained
economic  cooperation  between our two countries.  My deleg-
ation  and  I  look  forward  to  our  meetings  with   Your
Excellency and members of Your Excellency's Government.
Ladies and gentlemen,
11.  May  I  now  invite  you  to  join me in a toast to His
Excellency, President Perez and  Madame  Perez  and  to  the
friendship  and  cooperation between Malaysia and Venezuela.
Thank you.

 
 



 
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