Thursday, July 16, 2009

15th Non-Aligned Movement Summit Opens in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt; President Mugabe of Zimbabwe Delivers Address

NAM summit opens

From Mabasa Sasa in SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald Newspaper

THE 15th Non-Aligned Movement Summit opened here yesterday with heads of state and government expected to pass a resolution rejecting the unilateral imposition of sanctions and calling for the strengthening of the organisation to effectively deal with such challenges as the global economic crisis.

The nearly 60 leaders in attendance, including President Mugabe, are likely to adopt the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration today, that, among other things, calls for an end to big power practices that undermine international law and the United Nations Charter.

In his address to the summit, outgoing chair of the 118-member bloc Cde Raul Castro, the President of Cuba, said industrialised countries were the source of the economic crisis and called for an "equitable economic system especially in light of the present crisis".

"Every country in the world must seek just solutions to the global economic crisis. We call for a new monetary and economic world order. We must restructure the world financial system to take into consideration the needs of developing countries," he said.

Cde Castro said NAM, by virtue of its huge membership, had the power to take the fight to the West — a message that was echoed by Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi — who is also African Union chairman — in his address to the summit.

Accepting the NAM chairmanship, host President Hosni Mubarak said a new international trade order was needed to end the unjust system that continuously widened the gap between the rich Western nations that perpetuate it and the poor South.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Affairs ministers handed over the draft Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration for consideration by the heads of state and their representatives.

The ministers approved a declaration, which, if given the nod by NAM leaders, will call for a rejection of "the unilateral sanctions imposed on some countries by the West in contradiction of international law and the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter".

While there would be no specific declaration on Zimbabwe, it is expected that the Outcome Document would contain a call for the immediate lifting of illegal sanctions imposed on the country by some Western countries.

NAM, in March 2003, condemned the illegal embargo on Zimbabwe.

The final Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration is also expected to touch on issues of peace, security and terrorism; human rights and human trafficking; the reform of the UN; the economic crisis, food security and climate change, among other topical issues.

Reform IMF, WB: President

From Mabasa Sasa in SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt
Zimbabwe Herald Newspaper

PRESIDENT Mugabe has challenged the Non-Aligned Movement to assess its relevance and lead the process of reforming multilateral financial lending institutions and the United Nations in pursuit of a more equitable global order.

Addressing the plenary session of the NAM Heads of State and Government Summit that opened here yesterday, President Mugabe said Western interference in the domestic affairs of smaller nations was on the increase and it was time the developing world used its numerical advantage to institute changes in international relations.

He said it was his hope that the Bretton Woods institutions would soon be brought under the control of the United Nations General Assembly for the sake of fairness in the manner in which the IMF and World Bank deal with developing countries.

"The Movement cannot afford a business-as-usual approach. Hard questions beckon we need to go beyond the current practice of debates and the adoption of action plans that rarely see the light of day.

"Our clear and present challenge is a timeous, effective and unapologetic responsibility of delivering a just, peaceful and equitable world order.

"The Non-Aligned Movement faces renewed attempts by some Western countries to interfere in the internal affairs of NAM member countries. This ‘big brother is watching’ state of affairs is a grave danger to international peace and security.

"The severity of the machinations by the Western world has often manifested itself in a number of ways, including the use of surreptitious and illegal attempts by some Western countries to abuse the UN Security Council to unjustly punish developing countries through the imposition of illegal and unilateral sanctions, and other intimidatory measures," he said.

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe "was a target of these abhorrent machinations" and it was imperative that the entire UN system be reformed and democratised.

"We need to recognise that for as long as the UN retains its present form, it will continue to be abused by the mighty, haughty and militarily powerful to victimise the smaller and weaker nations.

"The international financial system, symbolised by the Bretton Woods institutions in particular, is similarly in dire need of reform," he said.

He said the fact that the global economic crisis had originated in the West demonstrated that these countries could not be trusted to oversee the international financial system.

"I am glad that the high-level meeting on global financial and economic crisis that was recently held at the United Nations headquarters in New York recommended that these institutions (IMF and World Bank) be put under the control of the UN General Assembly.

"This would no doubt make them more accountable and responsive to the needs of the majority of UN members, including developing countries."

President Mugabe pointed out that while the financial crisis started in the West, its effects were most keenly felt in developing countries where there was depressed demand for products, company closures, heightened unemployment and deepening poverty.

As a result, he said, many NAM members were unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

He said while NAM should pursue development collaborations with everyone, it was in South-South co-operation where real salvation lay because the West sought to divide and weaken developing countries through instruments such as economic partnership agreements.

"The EPAs are threatening our various regional economic integration, thus weakening and eroding the collective negotiating and bargaining positions which we have traditionally held."

President Mugabe briefed his fellow leaders on political developments in the country that led to the formation of the inclusive Government and assured them that the principals of the three parties to the arrangement were committed to making it work.

He, however, said sanctions continued to mitigate against progress, while thanking Sadc, the African Union and NAM for their support for the country.

"They (the West) are still bent on their goal of effecting regime change in my country. We count on your continued solidarity and support in our endeavour to improve the quality of life of our people."

He warned Britain and the United States of America to steer clear of Zimbabwe's internal issues, saying democracy did not work when outsiders subverted the will of indigenous peoples.

On the issue of nuclear proliferation, President Mugabe questioned why countries like North Korea were vilified for developing arms and yet other countries had large stockpiles of the weapons.

He said Zimbabwe’s position was that not only should countries limit their nuclear capability, but they should in fact totally disarm.

The President reiterated his Government’s unwavering support for the people of Palestine and called on Israel to stop the crimes against humanity it was committing in the Middle East.

He expressed his gratitude to NAM members for their co-operation during Zimbabwe's chairmanship of the just-ended Third Preparatory Conference for the 2010 Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

President Mugabe congratulated his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on assuming the chairmanship of NAM and assured him that Zimbabwe would support him fully, while thanking Cuba's Cde Raul Castro for his sterling work during his leadership of the bloc.

The XV NAM Summit is being held under the theme "International Solidarity for Peace and Development" and ends today.

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