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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 33, August 1, 2009

NAM: Abiding Relevance

Wednesday 5 August 2009, by Charvak

The 15th NAM Summit concluded at Sharm el-Sheikh on July 16 with a five-page Declaration that, while agreeing to engage constructively with “concrete actions” of the nuclear weapon states towards disarmament as also the recent positive pronouncements of US President Barack Obama and others to work towards a nuclear weapons-free world, embodied a powerful endorsement of the need to strive for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on the Arab Peace Initiative in its entirety. It advocated the establishment of an independent, contiguous and viable state in Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and at the same time firmly opposed all settlement activity carried out by Israel in the Occupied Terrorities.

The 118-member grouping’s highest forum called for an early finalisation of the draft of a compre-hensive Convention on International Terrorism—an initiative sponsored by India—while taking into consideration the views of all NAM members. It further pleaded for the “expeditious reform of the UN Security Council through its expansion and improvement of its working methods” as a priority agenda for the NAM duly taking the views of all member-states into account.

The global financial crisis and climate change also figured in the document. On climate change the Summit favoured strengthening the political momentum in the run-up to the Copenhagen Conference such that the NAM countries’ views regarding “mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer, capacity building and shared vision in accordance with the principle of Common but Differential Responsibilities” are well propagated.

On July 15 PM Manmohan Singh addressed the gathering and described the NAM as a “moral force” for the transformation of a world going through the worst economic crisis in “living memory”. He did not mince words when he pointed to the fact that the developing countries were the hardest hit by the crisis which “emanated from the advanced industrial economies” reinforcing protectionism and choking credit and capital flow to the Third World.

He dwelt at length on climate change saying the NAM’s weight should be used to achieve a “comprehensive, balanced and above all, equitable outcome” in the multilateral negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen Conference slated for December this year, exhorted the movement to do more to realise a “comprehensive, just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue”, and highlighted the need for a speedy agreement on a compre-hensive Convention on International Terrorism.

The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit confirmed the NAM’s abiding relevance in the changing global landscape.

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