Manmohan Singh to undertake bilateral visit to France, attend XVth NAM Summit in Egypt

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New Delhi, July 12 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will undertake a four-day official visit to France and Egypt from July 13 to 16, during which, he will participate in the National Day celebrations of France on July 14 and attend the two-day XVth Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm-al-Sheikh on July 15 and 16.

Special Secretary (Political and International Organisations) Vivek Katju told the media here ahead of the visit that the Prime Minister would be addressing the summit and would have meetings with a number of leaders on the margins of the summit.

He said that External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, National Security Advisor M.K Narayanan and other senior officials would accompany the Prime Minister.

Katju said that the summit themes would be International Solidarity for Peace and Development and the Current Economic and Financial Crisis. It would also focus in comprehensive manner on global regional and sub-regional issues, besides issues relating to development, human rights and social issues.

He confirmed that NAM foreign ministers would meet on July 13 and 14 and would submit their recommendations to their respective heads of government ahead of the XVth NAM summit.

Additionally, a meeting of the NAM Committee on Palestine would be held on July 13 at which Krishna would be making a statement.

A NAM First Ladies' Summit would also take place at the initiative of Egypt in which the Prime Minister's wife, Gurusharan Kaur would participate, Katju said, adding that the theme of this meeting would be Women in Crisis Management - Perspectives and Challenges, Best Practices and Lessons Learned.

Egypt's First Lady Suzane Mubarak would anchor the meeting that would focus on the role of women in the context of the global economic and food, health and humanitarian crises. Heads of UN Agencies: FAO, WFP, WHO, and ITU are expected to make brief statements during the two separate sessions of the first Ladies' summit.

Katju also confirmed that the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan would be meeting in Sharm-al-Sheikh on or after July 14. He also said that Dr. Singh would be meeting his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the NAM summit. The agenda for the two meetings was yet to be decided, he added.

Informed sources said that the meetings between the foreign secretaries and the prime ministers' of the two countries would focus on ways to restart the suspended composite dialogue process, the latest on the 26/11 attack probe and bilateral issues of mutual importance, including Kashmir.

As far as the relevance of NAM was concerned, Katju said: "NAM has a continuing relevance. NAM is now 48 years old. The first Summit was held in 1961 in Yugoslavia. This is the 15th Summit. NAM has stood for certain principles. Those principles were applied at the time when NAM was established and they were applied successfully. NAM's role in decolonization, NAM's role against apartheid, are on the record. This role was successful and effective. NAM seeks to apply the same principles to the challenges that the international community faces today. The same principle will we believe lead the international community to successfully address these challenges."

He further said that the XVth NAM meeting is taking place at a very crucial juncture in international affairs.

"The challenges that we face are before us. The challenge flowing from the international economic and global crisis, the other challenges of socioeconomic nature. These challenges even though may not have originated in the developing world, are of direct bearing and have the greatest impact on developing countries. So, we do believe that this is an important meeting, and important Summit. The voice of NAM will make a contribution to the resolution of the issues that the international community faces at this juncture," he said.

He also said that terrorism was very much on the NAM agenda.

"Terrorism is very much a global issue and it is in the front rank and the very first rank of global issues which confront the international community," he said.

He further said that in the context of the UN Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism, 1996, India has very strongly advocated that it should be adopted.

"We believe that if the Convention is adopted, it will make significant contribution to the international fight against global terrorism," he said.

The issue of UNSC reforms would also be taken up at the NAM summit, Katju said. (ANI)

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