14th NAM Summit kicks off in Cuba | india | Hindustan Times
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14th NAM Summit kicks off in Cuba

A meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) began on Monday amid uncertainty about the role Cuba's ailing leader Castro will play.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2006 18:40 IST

A meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) begins on Monday amid uncertainty about the role Cuba's ailing leader Fidel Castro will play, if any, in hosting leaders of developing countries from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Representatives of most of the 116 members of the Non-Aligned Movement are expected at the meeting in Havana, which culminates on Friday and Saturday in a summit of more than 50 heads of state and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Among the well-known leaders attending are Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh of India and Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand as well as Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, and Bashar Assad of Syria.

Cuba's Foreign Minister said on Sunday he could not confirm whether Castro will host a dinner for visiting leaders as noted in a schedule released earlier in the day, raising new doubts over Castro's participation in the summit.

If Castro did host the dinner on Friday as listed in the schedule, it would mark his first public appearance since he underwent intestinal surgery more than a month ago.

Formed in 1961, the Non-Aligned Movement was originally comprised of nations trying to form a Third-World force through a policy of non-alignment with the United States and the Soviet Union.

But heading into the meeting, Cuban officials have said the movement is still relevant despite the end of the Cold War, with smaller, developing countries needing to band together to resist the intervention and aggressions of more powerful nations.