Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt: More than 50 heads of state from the developing world met on Wednesday in Egypt to tackle the fallout from the global economic meltdown, with calls for a “new world order” to prevent a repeat of the crisis.
Cuban President Raul Castro said in a speech at the opening session of the Non-Aligned Movement summit that the financial crisis had hit developing nations the hardest.
“Every country in the world must seek just solutions to the global economic crisis,” Castro told the 118-member body at the gathering in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
“We call for a new monetary and economic world order... we must restructure the world financial system to take into consideration the needs of developing countries.”
Global power dynamics also need to be addressed, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said, demanding a restructuring of the UN Security Council, which he branded a form of terrorism “monopolised by a few countries that are permanent members.”
“This represents a danger toward international peace. We have suffered all sorts of harm from the Security Council, it has become a sword over our necks,” he said. “The Security Council is terrorism.”
Kadhafi said he wanted to correct the imbalance at the Security Council, demanding a permanent seat for the 53-member African Union, which he chairs.
But the developing world’s military ambitions looked set to steal the summit limelight, with nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to hold talks on Thursday aimed at relaunching stalled peace talks.
New Delhi and Islamabad’s fraught relations deteriorated after terror attacks in the India’s commercial capital Mumbai in November last year, which killed 166 people.
The attacks were allegedly planned and executed by the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Pakistan has acknowledged they were partially planned on its soil.
Indian foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon met his Pakistani counterpart Salim Bashir on Tuesday ahead of the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Singh has voiced hope that Pakistan will promise action against those behind the attacks when he meets Gilani for only the second high-level contact between the two sides since the Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan said on Saturday that it would “probably” put the five accused of involvement in the attacks on trial next week.
The attacks left in tatters a fragile peace process launched in 2004 to resolve all outstanding issues of conflict.
India, along with host Egypt, is one of the founding members of the NAM, the largest grouping of countries outside of the United Nations, aimed at giving a voice to the developing world.
The summit will “provide a chance for discussions over the international economic crisis, which first started in the industrialized countries, and greatly impacted the developing countries, especially Africa,” Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said on Tuesday.
He said industrialized states “should not be given free rein to manage such a crisis.”
Founded in 1955, NAM’s 118 member states represent around 56% of the global population. NAM states consider themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
Set up during the Cold War, the movement sought to distance itself from both the Western and Soviet blocs, but now its raison d’etre is questioned after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing shift in power politics.