Thursday, September 15, 2016

Zimbabwe President Mugabe Off to NAM, UN General Assembly Summits
President Mugabe chats to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi while First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe and Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo looks on before their depature at Harare International Airport early this morning.  - Picture by John Manzongo

Mabasa Sasa
Sunday Mail Editor

PRESIDENT Mugabe left Harare for Islha Margarita, Venezuela yesterday for the 17th Non-Aligned Movement Summit, where he will join 120 Heads of State and Government and/or their representatives for crucial meetings that seek to give a greater voice to the world’s emerging economies.

The President and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe are accompanied by senior Government officials.

The Summit venue could not be more apt: Venezuela is a country in the throes of a crisis occasioned by an American economic onslaught designed to unseat the socialist government; while the tourist island of Margarita represents the kind of inherent economic potential developing nations possess.

President Mugabe has on several occasions challenged NAM to evaluate its relevance and lead the process of reforming multilateral financial lending institutions and the United Nations in pursuit of a more equitable global order.

It is a message Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro Moros also believes in, saying ahead of the Summit “we have a plan to jointly drive . . . this great historic movement and convert it into a spearhead to reform the system of the UN, so that it serves the people and not the elites of the world”.

NAM has 120 members and is focused on self-determination, independence, and sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of increasing unilateralism in global affairs led by the United States and abetted by the European Union.

Established in 1961 as a bold statement to the then existing attempt to create a bipolar world divided between the US and the now defunct USSR, NAM espoused the establishment of a new international economic order in which all nations were equal.

It is the largest international organisation after the United Nations, and its Summit this year takes place on the eve of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in the US.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez has said, “The Summit will offer a broad platform for a fundamental change in international economic relations and the complete economic emancipation of Southern countries.”

President Maduro assumes NAM’s rotating presidency from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

The host nation has been wrecked by pro-US opposition protests, and the government has deployed 14 000 security personnel on Margarita, which lies about 23km north of the mainland, to protect NAM delegates.

At the end of the 2012 Summit, leaders issued the Tehran Declaration which emphasised the right of all countries to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes while advocating nuclear disarmament, condemned unilateral imposition of sanctions, supported creation of a Palestinian state, and supported human rights free from political agendas and opposition to racism and Islamophobia.

NAM has consistently criticised illegal Western sanctions unilaterally imposed on Zimbabwe.

There have been concerns, though, about NAM’s continued relevance since the 1989 fall of the Berlin wall, with analysts saying the bloc should find ways of advancing the agenda of development when confronted with neo-colonialism and a destructive brand of neo-liberalism.

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