Monday, September 11, 2006

Summit in Cuba, but Will Host Attend?

The New York Times

Published: September 11, 2006

HAVANA, Sept 10 (Reuters) — Leaders of the nonaligned movement of 116 developing nations will gather in Cuba this week for a summit meeting that will gather some of the United States’ fiercest critics.

But one of Washington’s longest-lasting ideological adversaries, the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, may not be well enough to attend.

Cuban officials said Sunday that they did not know if Mr. Castro, who has been recovering from surgery in July, would be able to do more than receive in private some of the 50 leaders expected in Havana.

Cuban officials said they had mistakenly listed Mr. Castro as the host of a dinner for heads of delegations in a news coverage schedule.

“I can confirm that he will receive some of the foreign dignitaries and almost certainly Kofi Annan,” Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque said, referring to the United Nations secretary general. “We cannot say yet whether he will be physically present in the work of the summit.”

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is expected to take up Mr. Castro’s role of assailing Western capitalism in the name of the world’s poor.

The presidents of Iran and Syria, countries the Bush administration sees as supporters of terrorism, are expected in Havana, as well as a high-ranking delegation from North Korea, which Mr. Bush has included in an “axis of evil.”

The nonaligned movement, which includes almost two-thirds of the member states of the United Nations, is expected to endorse Iran’s nuclear energy program after Tehran ignored an Aug. 31 Security Council deadline to stop enriching uranium, a process that the Bush administration says is meant to yield atomic bombs.

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