NAM summit to boost peace in Middle East: AL chief


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May 6, 2009
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2009-07-12 05:41:01

CAIRO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa expected that the 15th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, which is scheduled for July 15-16 at Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, will support the Arab position and all the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

All Arab countries in the AL are members of the movement and the issues tackled by NAM include many Arab issues, said the AL chief in an exclusive interview with Xinhua recently.

"As for Palestine declaration, the NAM summit would support putting an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict provided that the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem," Moussa said.

A "Declaration on Palestine," which is among the final documents of the movement's previous summits, is expected to express its members' common stance over the thorny issue in the Middle East.

"They will call for an end of settlements policy and support the future peace between the Arabs and Israelis within the framework of the Arab initiative," Moussa said.

The Arab peace initiative, which embodies the two-state guideline, was proposed by Saudi Arabia and adopted in the Arab summit held in Beirut in 2002. It offers the Arab acceptance of the Jewish state in exchange for an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders.

As for Gaza, Moussa said "all countries want to help Gaza and the money is ready and projects of reconstructions in Gaza are also ready but what prevents all that is the blockade."

Israel imposed the blockade on Gaza in June 2007 when Hamas routed security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and took over the enclave.

In January, Israel completed a three-week military operation in Gaza, killing as many as 1,400 Palestinians and destroying thousands of houses and infrastructure.

Israel has so far refused to lift the blockade for fear that some of the materials, namely steel and cement, might facilitate the military build-up of the Islamist regime.

Moussa stressed "You can not bring in the materials of reconstruction and you can not rebuilt Gaza in such a situation where whatever you built is under the a threat of being destroyed the next day, so we will have to make sure that Israel would not attack Gaza and to end the siege as a condition to reconstruct Gaza Strip."

On the other hand, the deposed Prime Minister of Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haneya said last week that reaching a reconciliation deal with rival Fatah party must not be linked to the reconstruction of Gaza.

On cooperation between AL and NAM, Moussa said that the issues related to economy, society and development are common challenges face by all developing countries.

In NAM's Kuala Lumpur summit in 2003, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahtier Mohamed blamed NAM countries for the weakness of the movement, while in 2009 Egypt calls for developing the movement.

Asked about Mahtier's view on the future of the movement, Moussa said "What Mahtier Mohamed said in Kuala Lumpur summit is right and we can not blame the others for what happened in our societies, we are responsible for the best management of resources of developing countries, so I agree with what Mahtier said in this summit."

In 1990s, Egypt asked for developing the movement and integrating NAM with Group of 77 as the collapse of Soviet Union and end of the Cold War had weaken the concept and philosophy of non-alignment, said Moussa.

"At this time I was Egypt's foreign minister and I presented a proposal to develop the Non-Aligned Movement," he added.

"After long discussion in Jakarta, we agreed on the necessity of coordination between NAM and Group of 77 without integration," said Moussa.

The Jakarta summit in 1992 is the first one held by the movement after the end of the Cold War. The summit was attended by64 heads of state or government, observers from 10 countries including China, and guests from 21 countries. Participants at the summit asserted that the Non-Aligned Movement, which emerged in 1961 against the two antagonistic military blocs, should be strengthened rather than weakened despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the changes in Eastern Europe since the last summit.

The 15th summit will adopt two main documents, namely the Final Document, which will outline the common position of the movement on various issues on its agenda, and the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration, which would focus on the development of the group itself.

However, the AL chief said "I think that the movement missed this opportunity to develop itself and dealing with post-Cold War, and I don't know if the movement can really develop itself now."

"Developing NAM means it has to be the movement of developing countries and its economic, political, environmental and other issues."

"Egypt will chair the NAM and we support the Egyptian efforts to develop the movement," he added.

NAM summit to boost peace in Middle East: AL chief_English_Xinhua

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