Ministers gather for Non-Aligned Movement summit

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pretoria - South Africa's International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has joined representatives of over 100 member nations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in a gathering in Bali, Indonesia.

The week-long XVI Ministerial Conference gathers under the theme "Shared Vision on the Contribution of NAM for the next 50 years".

South Africa became a member of NAM in 1994 and participates in its meetings within the context of promoting South-South cooperation and advancing the interests of the developing countries on the global stage.

International Relation's Clayson Monyela says the upcoming conference serves as a mid-term Ministerial Review of developments and implementation of the decisions made at the XV Summit of the NAM in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2009.

In that summit, the movement expressed its concern and total consternation for innocent victims of sanctions and actions of force, including those authorised by the UN Security Council.

The Sharme El Sheik meeting also called on all states to promote the principle of non-use of force and resort to the peaceful resolution of controversies as a means to achieve collective security, having in mind that armed force will not be used, except in the common interest, as stipulated by the UN Charter.

"The Indonesia 2011 conference will evaluate the latest international developments, particularly those related to the issues of interest for NAM member countries, and assess the achievements made so far in the process of revitalising and strengthening the Non-Aligned Movement since the last summit," Monyela said.

A meeting of the NAM Ministerial Committee on Palestine will be held on 26 May 2011 in parallel to the general debate, which SA serves as a committee member along side with Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Palestine, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The inaugural conference of Non-Aligned Heads of State, at which 25 countries were represented, was convened at Belgrade, Serbia, in September 1961. The current membership of the NAM stands at 118 member states.

The main goals and objectives of the NAM are contained in the Ten Bandung Principles, which outlines, amongst others, the relations among member states, serves as the criteria for membership, and corresponds with the key beliefs of the United Nations.

The NAM plays a significant role in building peace. In South Africa, it played role in the anti-apartheid struggle and for a democratic South Africa as its core principles are rooted in the promotion of freedom, equality and justice.

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