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NAM summit begins; Terror, economic crisis agenda

July 15, 2009 18:56 IST

Leaders from Non Aligned Movement countries, including India, met in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt on Wednesday to hammer out a strategy to tackle the world financial crisis and sought international solidarity to fight terrorism and enhance peace and development.

Opening the two-day 15th NAM Summit of the 118 developing nations at this Egyptian Red Sea resort city, Cuban President Raul Castro said the grouping believes that all countries in the world should search for effective and justified measures to tackle the current financial crisis.

NAM should promote the establishment of a new international economic order of equality and sustainable development, said Castro, the outgoing Chairman of the grouping.

In his address, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who took over the NAM Chairmanship from Castro on Wednesday for a three-year term, sought serious efforts and international solidarity to enhance world peace and development.

Mubarak spoke about the international financial system and the need to deal with on war-footing challenges like climate change, food security, peace and security, disarmament, human rights and rule of law.

The Summit aims at evolving a new international order to effectively face contemporary world challenges.

Gadafi said terrorism has to be defined and all forms of the scourge tackled firmly. Sources of the menace should be spotted, he added. He said billions of dollars have been stashed away by Al-Qaeda and other terror groups in Swiss banks.

Mubarak, who was elected Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement on Wednesday for a three-year term, sought international solidarity to enhance world peace and development.

The Egyptian leader took over the NAM chairmanship from Cuban President Raul Castro.

Founded in September 1961 by first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser and ex-Yugoslav President Josip Tito, NAM now groups 118 member states, 16 observer countries and 9 observer organisations.

The grouping, which represents nearly two-thirds of the UN member countries and comprises 55 per cent of the world population, focuses on interests of developing world.

In his address Cuban President Raul Castro proposed the summit observe a minute's silence in memory of the leaders of NAM who had passed away since the 14th summit.

He said NAM believes that all countries in the world should search for effective and justified measures to tackle the current financial crisis.

NAM should promote the establishment of a new international economic order of equality and sustainable development, Castro said.

At the two-day Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss the global financial crisis, climate change, the Mideast peace process, food security, energy and nuclear issues.

They are also scheduled to sign the Summit's Final Document and Sharm El Sheikh Declaration and approve the NAM's strategy and action plan for the future three years.

The summit is expected to produce declarations about the security of the world's food supply, climate change and the decade old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to honour South African freedom icon Nelson Mandela.

At the last Non-Aligned Movement Summit, in Havana, Cuba, in 2006, Malaysia had passed leadership of the movement to Cuba.
V Mohan Narayan in Sharm el-Sheikh
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