NAM slams terror, defends Iran's N-action
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NAM slams terror, defends Iran's N-action

Cuba's Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister said anti-terror fight cannot be dictated by dates, but by attitude, policies and actions.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2006 15:00 IST

The 14th Summit of the world's more than 100 developing countries got underway in Havana with a focus on terrorism, a defence of Iran's controversial nuclear programme and an affirmation that the NAM movement was needed more than ever before in an "unjust world."

Cuban Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Abelardo Moreno, who led the first top officials meeting on Monday, said anti-terrorism fight cannot be dictated by dates, but by attitude, policies and actions, adding the final declaration of the movement will reject any type of terrorism.

The six-day gathering of NAM nations brings together almost 116 leaders from developing countries, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has defied UN demands that he halt uranium enrichment, is also slated to attend the meeting.

Heads of state and government will start their talks on Friday, four days after the preparatory meetings.

Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis joined the movement on Monday, increasing the members of the grouping to 118.

In his opening speech at the NAM Summit on Monday, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said, "We believe it is indispensable for us to close ranks in defending our rights. The risks, threats and difficulties that we are facing are similar and with a common origin," a veiled reference to the US.

"We must show our strength to the world, our ability to collectively cope with the enormous challenges imposed on us by a world governed by the most powerful," he said at the meeting of high-ranking officials who are undertaking final preparatory work on the documents for the Summit.

"Today we can say with absolute confidence that NAM is more necessary than ever, and that this association is the essential forum to discuss our main problems and continue fighting so that our just demands are heard in the unfair and unequal world we are living in.

"NAM is more necessary now than ever and its members must get involved in its revitalisation and strengthening to be able to discuss and solve their most acute problems," he said.

This summit follows the brutal Israeli aggression in Lebanon, the attacks against the Palestinian people, and the intensification of the pressures on Iran, he noted, while underscoring the Cuban and NAM position in favour of Tehran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The summit "happens to coincide with the tightening of pressures against Iran for the exercise of its sovereign right to develop a programme for the peaceful use of nuclear energy," he said.

Meanwhile, the draft of the Summit's final document also stressed the right of developing nations to use and produce nuclear energy. Officials were preparing a declaration on the issue, which would be adopted in addition to the summit's final document.

The Summit will also measure international fulfilment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN for 2015 in order to halve poverty.

One day into the Summit, it was unclear if Cuban President Fidel Castro, recuperating after a surgery, would be well enough to attend the meeting, in which Cuba is to take over leadership of NAM from Malaysia.

First Published: Sep 12, 2006 15:00 IST