KUALA LUMPUR 22 OCT – Like Malaysia, Spain believes in promoting regional and global peace and goodwill.
Spanish ambassador Jose Luis Pardo said that like a vast majority of states in the international community, Spain and Malaysia were peace-loving countries, lovers of the principles of the United Nations Charter and effective multilateralism.
He reflected on the recent speeches of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez Pérez-Castejón and his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States.
“Those were new and unequivocal proof of our common commitment to peace, coexistence and harmony, which can only be based on mutual respect, human rights and international legality – if they are to be lasting,”
“It is in this community of shared values that the relations between our two countries are embedded.
“This year we celebrate the 56th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations,” Pardo said at the ‘Spanish National Day 2023’ reception at the JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Bukit Bintang.
Guest-of-honour was Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Teo Nie Ching.
Pardo touched on how Spanish-Malaysian relations had been enriched over the years.
“Today they are based on solid foundations at all political, economic and cultural levels.
“In the commercial and investment field, there are many Spanish companies working and established in Malaysia.
“It is a source of pride to know that they represent the excellence of our business sector – small, medium and large companies – and that all of them enjoy a good image in Malaysia.
“The Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Malaysia (LaCámara) is also an effective instrument for boosting the presence of Spanish companies in the country,” Pardo said.
He emphasised that people-to-people contacts were essential at all levels.
“We pay special attention to young people. That is why it is a priority for us to consolidate the current university exchange schemes and to promote the teaching of Spanish in Malaysia (which is a common mother tongue of a community of 21 countries – eight of them present in Malaysia – and more than 600 million people).
“Spanish is the second most spoken as a mother tongue and the third more used communication language in the Internet worldwide,” said Pardo.
He highlighted the growing number of Malaysians visiting Spain and of Spaniards visiting Malaysia – returning in their suitcases with magnificent impressions and experiences.
“It is an honor for my country that this year will receive a new historical record of 86 million visitors interested in our culture, gastronomy and nature,” he said.
Pardo said Spain was ambitious and wanted to continue working to improve and expand bilateral cooperation with Malaysia in sectors like renewable energies, green hydrogen, green economy, digital, rail transport and smart-cities.
He praised the bilateral signing in Madrid last April on their scientific and technical cooperation which opened a promising new dimension.
Spain holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2023.
“Southeast Asia, Asean and Malaysia in particular are priority partners in the external agenda of the European Union as a global player.
“All EU member states and a majority of Asean member states share democratic values, are committed to effective multilateralism, international cooperation, respect for international law and human rights.
“We firmly believe that this is the only way to promote peace, socio-economic prosperity, human development and environmental sustainability on our planet,” Pardo said.
He added that the toolbox of EU-Malaysia relations was already sound and broad, and includes a ‘Partnership and Cooperation Agreement’.
“We have ahead many opportunities to enlarge it.
“The opening of negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement, the multi-billion euros possibility for financing bilateral projects in the framework of the Global Gateway or the future presence of the European Investment Bank are opportunities that we should not and must not, miss,” Pardo said.
Looking back, Pardo said that the 20th century was probably the most violent in the history of mankind, but it was now in the past.
“We should be thankful that we do not have to suffer the disasters that our ancestors had to face.
“In Western Europe and in exchanging war to peace and competition to cooperation, the European integration that began in Rome in1957 (which today is the European Union based in Brussels, Belgium) has played a fundamental role in this objective.
“However, in our times there are still too many innocent people who lose their lives in armed conflicts and terrorist acts.
“There are still too many people who are prevented from leading a normal life and who are deprived of the right of every human being to pursue happiness.
“There are still too many people who are forced by violence or intolerance to seek refuge outside their borders and flee their homes,” Pardo said.
He added that all this was tragic, unbearable and absolutely unacceptable.
It happened in the Middle East, Ukraine and, in varying intensity, in other areas of the world.
Pardo paid tribute to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso, a Spaniard and universal European who revolutionised the world history of painting, in particular, and art in general.
The reproduction of ‘Guernica’, he said, was one of his most iconic paintings – certainly the largest in size that he ever executed.
The painting’s original is in the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid which has a special significance in the history of Pardo’s country since it expressed a tragedy event in the Spanish Civil War.
That, Pardo said, was their very humble contribution to the anniversary, which was celebrated with numerous exhibitions all over the world.
“Picasso was a child of his time. But he was talented enough to make his work timeless.
“He witnessed the enormous technological and scientific advances but also the many human and ideological contradictions of the 20th century.
“He lived in a world of amazing brilliant artistic and cultural effervescence throughout Europe but overshadowed by an atmosphere of widespread violence and armed conflict,” said Pardo.
Picasso witnessed a civil war in his country and two world wars on his continent. He was an indirect witness to other conflicts arising from the Cold War and the processes of decolonisation and independence.
“It is not surprising therefore that he dedicated an important part of his work to denouncing the cruelty of war and contributing to the promotion of peace.
“In this regard, paintings as ‘Guernica’, ‘Massacre in Korea’ and ‘The Dove of Peace’ became iconic,” Pardo said.
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