Manmohan Singh leaves for Egypt to attend NAM summit

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Paris, July 14 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, left for the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh this afternoon to attend the two-day XVth Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit.

He will reach the Egyptian resort later tonight.

On Monday, the Prime Minister had underlined India's commitment to help revitalise the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which had a renewed role to play in the emerging world order following the end of the Cold War.

"India will play its part in helping NAM to regain its moral high ground to address issues which are of direct concern and relevance to developing countries such as sustainable development, climate change, food security, energy security, terrorism and reform of the architecture of international governance," Dr. Singh said in a statement before leaving for France and Egypt.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is already at the venue attending the Nam Foreign Ministers meeting, said today that nowhere is international solidarity and development more relevant than in combating terrorism.

"Terrorism threatens democracy and democratic values...It is also a threat to international peace and security," he said.

"We call upon NAM Members to unequivocally condemn terrorism, no cause or reasoning can be used to justify such acts. In this context, the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism being discussed in the UN is an immediate imperative," he said.

Indian officials said 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.

A meeting of the NAM Committee on Palestine was held on July 13 at which Krishna made 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. 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.

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

"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," officials said.

They 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," one official said.

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is an international organization of states considering themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

The movement is largely the brainchild of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Gamal Abdul Nasser, former president of Egypt and Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito. It was founded in April 1955 and as of 2007, it has 118 members.

The purpose of the organization as stated in the Havana Declaration of 1979 is to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries" in their "struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics."

They represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations's members and comprise 55 percent of the world population, particularly countries considered to be developing or part of the third world.By Smita Prakash(ANI)

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