Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cuba summit sends strong message

The BBC

Last Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2006, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK

By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Havana

The summit of the Non-Aligned Movement being held in Havana has ended with delegates agreeing on a final statement.

The movement consists of 118 countries, mostly from the developing world.

Several of the more than 50 heads of state and government attending the meeting are known for their strong criticism of the United States.

The host, Cuban President Fidel Castro, understood to be recuperating from a gastric illness, did not make a public appearance during the event.

The delegates representing almost two-thirds of all the countries in the world gave their approval to a document which spells out the points they agree on.

There is strong condemnation of Israel's recent intervention in Lebanon, a call for the United Nations to be more representative of smaller nations, support for Iran's nuclear energy plans and implicit criticism of much of US foreign policy.

Conspicuous absence

Many of the world leaders attending the summit used their seven allocated minutes at the podium to vent their anger at the Bush administration.

The senior North Korean delegate said that American threats had forced his country to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

The most significant agreement occurred at the summit sidelines - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan announced that they would re-start stalled peace talks and co-operate in the fight against terrorism.

Conspicuous by his absence throughout this event was its host, Fidel Castro.

He was only able to greet a handful of visitors from his hospital room.

But he was duly elected chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement for the next three years.

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Address by The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica to The 14th Summit of The Non Aligned Movement
Havana Cuba

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