Non-Aligned Nations Vow to Keep Up ‘Self-Determination’

egyptSHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt —World leaders from more than 100 countries wrapped up the 15th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh last Thursday with a pledge to “continue our support to the fundamental right to self-determination.”

Leaders at the two-day summit — billed as the largest gathering of nations outside the U.N. General Assembly — also underscored their commitment to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory through a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict.

At a speech delivered before the Summit’s end, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said the gathering affirmed the significance of the massive bloc of states — more than half in the world — as well as the “importance of the values and principles that they defend.”

“The success of this Summit is not the end of the road. We must work together, hand in hand, to follow up on its decisions and outcomes,” he added.

The 100-page-plus Final Document outlined the Non-Aligned Movement’s course for the coming three years on a variety of international and regional matters, including; disarmament, international security, peacekeeping and peace-building, human rights and democracy, Mideast peace, United Nations reform, food security, international terrorism and the global financial crisis.

“We will continue our support to the fundamental right to self-determination… We shall restore the lost balance between the main bodies of the United Nations and re-establish the role and authority of the General Assembly,” read the declaration.

The NAM was founded in 1955 by former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, and former Yugoslav president Josip Tito.

The movement now has 118 member states with 15 observer states also taking part, representing two-thirds of the members of the United Nations and half of the world’s population.

The movement was originally set up as a group of nations allied neither with the U.S. nor the Soviet Union. Observers believe it has lost much of its relevance with the end of the Cold War. Over the past two decades, it has become a forum in which developing nations meet to complain.

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