Senior officials from over 140 countries met Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt Saturday to discuss the agenda and draft documents for the 15th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit due on July 15-16 in this Red Sea resort city, preparing for the movement’s direction-taking summit in a new world situation.
The summit, with a theme of “International Solidarity for Peace and Development,” will focus on ways to reactivate NAM in the current world situation, address international hot-spots and difficult problems and protect the interests of developing countries.
At the senior officials’ meeting, which runs through Saturday and Sunday, they will examine a report by the NAM Coordinating Bureau, establish a Political Committee and an Economic and Social Committee to draft the summit’s final documents and other statements for a coming ministerial meeting to review, and adopt the report of the Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting.
The NAM heads of state and government are expected to approve the final documents at their summit slated for next Wednesday and Thursday.
Around 100 heads of state and government are expected to attend the summit.
President Rupiah Banda is among the presidents to attend the Egypt summit.
Among the dignitaries invited by the Egyptian government, host of the summit, are UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa and President of the African Union Mouammer al Gaddafi.
The 15th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit is being held at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from July 11 to 16, the following is a brief retrospect of the movement’s previous summits.
The first summit was held at Belgrade in 1961. The summit saw representatives from 25 countries, 11 from both Asia and Africa, along with Yugoslavia, Cuba, and Cyprus.
The next summit was held in Cairo in 1964. It was attended by 46 nations, with most of the new members being newly independent African states. Much of the meeting involved discussions about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Indo-Pakistani wars.
The 1970 summit in Lusaka was attended by 54 nations and was one of the most important summits. The movement formed a permanent organization to foster economic and political ties. Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda played a crucial role in these events.
The 1973 summit in Algiers saw the movement dealing with new economic realities. The 1973 world oil shock had made some of its members vastly richer than the others. The end of the attachment of the U.S. currency to gold and the dollar’s subsequent devaluation also removed one of the group’s traditional targets.
During the 1976 summit in Colombo, members passed at the final hours of the meeting a resolution to call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Korean Peninsular and the dissolution of the United Nations Command in the area.
The 1979 summit in Havana saw the movement discussing the merits of a “natural alliance” seen by many between the movement and the Soviet Union. Under the leadership of Fidel Castro, the summit discussed the concept of an anti-imperialist alliance with the Soviet Union.
At the New Delhi summit in 1983, the focus of discussion was “disarmament.” Other topics which figured in the discussions included apartheid in South Africa, the Iran-Iraq conflict and the Palestinian problem.
Apartheid and racial discrimination were condemned in unequivocal terms at the 8th summit held at Harare in 1986. The anti-apartheid views of the members were not without effect. Mr. Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for over 25 years, was freed in October1989. He has been actively working against apartheid in South Africa and has gained full support of the NAM nations.
Important decisions were taken at the 9th summit held at Belgrade in September 1989. Over 100 nations pledged once again to cooperate wholeheartedly with one another in order to build up a just economic order. This is to be done through dialogues and discussions on the key economic issues so as to ensure mutual cooperation among the NAM nations on the one hand and among these nations and the developed countries on the other. The summit also pledged to continue its fight against apartheid and colonialism still persisting in many countries as well as to work for upholding human rights everywhere.
The Jakarta summit in 1992 is the first one held by the movement after the end of the Cold War. The summit was attended by 64 heads of state or government, observers from 10 countries including China, and guests from 21 countries. Participants at the summit asserted that the Non-Aligned Movement, which emerged in 1961 against the two antagonistic military blocs, should be strengthened rather than weakened despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the changes in Eastern Europe since the last summit.
The 11th summit was held at the Colombian port city of Cartagena, with a call for more international cooperation and a new, just world order, in order to facilitate overall development for developing countries. The final document pledged to revitalize and enhance the role of the movement as the spokesman of the developing countries in the post-Cold War era.
The summit also discussed the restructuring of the United Nations, human rights, anti-drugs, social progress of developing countries, environmental protection and anti-terrorism.
Development was the main topic of the 1998 summit, which was held at South Africa’s Indian 0cean coastal city of Durban. The final document issued at the end of the summit noted that continued acts of violence in Africa perpetrated by terrorist groups against innocent civilians have caused instability and severe disruption of development efforts in the continent.
On disarmament and international security, the leaders reiterated that with the end of the Cold War, there is no justification for the maintenance of nuclear arsenals, or concepts of international security based on developing military alliances and policies of nuclear deterrence.
The Kuala Lumpur summit in 2003 was attended by 63 heads of state or government and delegates from 42 other member countries attended the summit. The summit at its closing session issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Continuing the Revitalization of the Non-Aligned Movement, a separate statement concerning Iraq, and a separate statement on Palestine.
The summit adopted five documents: “Declaration on Purposes and Principles and the Role of NAM in Present International Juncture”, “Final Document”, “Document on Methodology Plan of Action”, “Declaration on Palestine” and “Statement on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Issue.”