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Non-Aligned Movement’s 16th Summit starts in Tehran

August 30, 2012, 4:59 UTC+3

The summit of the Non-Aligned Movement /NAM/ starts in the capital city of Iran on Thursday

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CAIRO, August 30 (Itar-Tass) —— The summit of the Non-Aligned Movement /NAM/ starts in the capital city of Iran on Thursday.

During two days, Tehran will be welcoming leaders of the 16th meeting of the non-aligned countries.

The meeting is expected to feature 24 presidents, three kings and about 80 prime ministers and ministers. The key topics of the summit will be Iran’s nuclear programme and settlement of the conflict in Syria. Besides, the participants will discuss issues of human rights, Iraq’s, Palestine’s and Afghanistan’s problems, as well as economic and social development of Africa and Latin America.

During the past two days, Iran’s capital city hosted consultations of foreign ministers in the framework of preparations for the summit. The foreign ministers agreed to “begin common actions to settle the Syrian crisis,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Akbar Salehi said.

During the preparatory meetings, Tehran initiated establishment of a group on Syria, which would also include representatives of Venezuela and Egypt. The group will establish contacts between Damascus’ government and the opposition and will work out a common decision to overcome the current situation. According to Salehi, “the three and several other countries have come to a clear conclusion that it would be incorrect for the Non-Aligned Movement to stay away while other players and international structures are involved in the Syrian crisis.”

Earlier, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said it should be settled “by a peaceful way only.” “We all are sure the settlement of the crisis should be by a non-military way and should come from the people and the government,” he said.

The UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who despite Washington’s and its allies’ active objections, came to Tehran for participation in the NAM’s summit, pointed to the necessity of Iran’s participation in settlement of the Syrian conflict.

Egypt’s new President Mohammed Mursi will also take part in the meeting in Tehran. The visit of Egypt’s leader to Iran will be the first trip of the kind for over three decades and it is taken by Iran’s officials as a serious step towards restoration of full-fledged relations between the two countries, which were stopped in 1979 after Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

Mursi will spend only several hours in Iran and will participate only in the opening ceremony. During the opening he is expected to present Egypt’s views on the Syrian settlement. Earlier, the president’s administration said he would not have meetings with Iran’s leaders and would only participate in the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Before the meeting, Ahmadinejad allowed the high-level guests to visit the country’s nuclear facilities, “should they wish to do so.”

The Non-Aligned Movement was established at the Belgrade Conference in September of 1961. Nowadays, it unites about 120 countries, 17 states are represented as observers. The basic principle of the organisation is non-participation in military blocks, including NATO. The non-aligned countries make about two-thirds of the UN members. Their population is about 55 percent of the globe’s population.

The previous summit in 2009 was opened by Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak. Following next three years, Cairo chaired the organisation, though during the last 18 months after the revolution and overthrowing of the old regime, the country is fully focused on its domestic problems.


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