The 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) started in Kampala on Monday with a call on the member countries to strengthen unity in the wake of the existing challenges.
Uganda’s Minister for Foreign, Gen Jeje Odongo told the Preparatory Meeting of the Senior Officials for the NAM Summit at Speke Resort, Munyonyo, that much as NAM was formed in 1965, the Bandung Principles on which it was formed are still very relevant today.
The Bandung Principles agreed in 1955 at the Afro-Asian Conference held in the Indonesian city, includes respect for fundamental human rights, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, equality among races, and non-interference in the internal affairs of another country.
Others were respect for the right to self-defense, non-use of collective defense pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers, non-use of pressure by any country against other countries, refraining from using threats of aggression, and peaceful resolution of all international conflicts.
Minister Odongo says these principles should continue to be upheld as the developing world suffers high debt levels, terrorism, health needs including pandemics, as well as foreign interference in their affairs.
He was speaking as the host minister of the 120 member countries; senior officials, as the country assumes the chairmanship for the Summit next five years from Azerbaijan. The theme for the summit is “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence”, aimed at pushing for fairness in the global push for prosperity.
Amb. Adonia Ayebare the Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations was elected as the Chairperson for the Senior Official Meeting of NAM. In their introductory remarks, representatives of several countries expressed the need for the developed countries to stop aggression against members, and take all sovereign countries as equals.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN (Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations) rallied the NAM member countries to join the Arab Caucus that already committed, to solidarity in ensuring the end to what he called Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. He said the past 100 years have seen untold devastation for the people of Palestine, including killings, starvation, and denial of access to health. Mansour said efforts should be geared at preventing the promised “Israeli Second Nakba (catastrophe) in Gaza”.
Mansour also supported the bid by South Africa to secure just for the people of Palestine at the International Court Justice, saying that they are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the process to take another step.
The call for joint efforts against aggression on Palestine was first made by the representative from Iran, while Pakistan, Lebanon, and Mauritania, among others, also called for the issue to be included in the report to the heads of states summit later this week. On its part, Somalia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Abukar Osman, hailed the NAM Summit for giving the country additional voice to express its aspirations.
He, however, called against the violation of its territorial integrity and interference in its internal affairs, as well as recognizing the unification process of all the Somalis. While he did not mention any country, Somalia has been opposed to the independence of Somaliland and is heavily affected by the Alshabaab Islamist group that controls a big part of the country, with suspected help from neighboring countries.
The Non-Aligned Movement is a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc (previously the Soviet Socialist bloc vs the US-led coalition). It was founded with the view to advancing the interests of developing countries in the context of Cold War confrontation.