Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: At least 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 (NAM) summit that the financial crisis had hit developing countries 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.
Development concerns: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna (left) and national security adviser M.K. Narayanan at the 15th NAM summit in Egypt on Wednesday. PTI
“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 Muammar Qaddafi said, demanding a restructuring of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, which he branded a form of terrorism “monopolized by a few countries that are permanent members”.
But the developing world’s military ambitions looked set to steal the summit limelight, with nuclear-armed South Asian foes 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 Mumbai in November last year.
The attacks were blamed by India on the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Pakistan has acknowledged they were partially planned on its soil.
Indian foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon met his Pakistani counterpart Salim Bashir on Tuesday ahead of the meeting between Indian 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 bombings.
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, including a territorial dispute over the divided Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
India, along with host Egypt, is one of the founding members of NAM, the largest grouping of countries outside of the UN, aimed at giving a voice to the developing world.