Syria: NAM split, India seeks greater UN role | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Syria: NAM split, India seeks greater UN role

Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gears up to attend the summit of non-aligned movement (NAM) countries on August 29, the group seems to be heading for a wide split on the Syrian conflict.

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2012 01:13 IST
Jayanth Jacob

Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gears up to attend the summit of non-aligned movement (NAM) countries on August 29, the group seems to be heading for a wide split on the Syrian conflict.

New Delhi, which is trying to strike a middle path, is seeking greater UN participation in efforts to end the impasse. It is opposing any move to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad or any kind of external prescription to solve the problem, insisting that any remedy for the situation should come from within.

Host country Iran holds a strident pro-Assad position, making the issue more complex. While the Iranian stance is challenged by Arab nations in the NAM grouping of 120 countries, it enjoys the support of countries like Cuba and Venezuela. Syria was suspended from the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Thursday, despite opposition from Iran.

The host country makes the draft of the summit declaration, which has to be consensual.

Sources said Arab nations were pushing NAM to take a strong stance on Syria. A meeting of senior officials on August 27, where India will be represented by foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai, is expected to witness member states arguing their viewpoints vehemently.

Indian officials said UN participation would prevent certain nations from playing an “overactive” role in the conflict. Foreign ministers of NAM countries will meet a day before the summit launch to firm up its agenda.