Formed as a cold-war forum for developing countries that didn’t want to take sides, the movement has struggled to find its way since the USSR collapsed.
CAIRO – The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) opened its 15th summit meeting in Egypt today with a bold call for a global financial system that gives “preferential treatment” to the world’s poorest countries.
“We demand the establishment of a new international financial and economic structure that relies on the participation of all countries,” said Cuba’s President Raul Castro, the outgoing secretary-general of NAM, adding an apparent jab at the United States amid the continuing fallout from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.
“There must be a new framework that doesn’t depend solely on the economic stability and the political decision of only one country,” he said, according to Reuters.
However bold, Mr. Castro’s call raises the question: does the Non-Aligned Movement have any pull to make it, or anything, a reality?
'Crisis of credibility'
Formed as a cold-war forum for developing countries that did not want to take sides between the US and the Soviet Union, the NAM has struggled to find its way since the USSR collapsed. On Wednesday, Egypt took over the presidency from Cuba for a three-year term.
“There is no serious reason for the Non-Aligned Movement to continue to exist,” says Nabil Abdel Fattah, assistant director of Cairo’s Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, a think tank with government ties. “It faces so many challenges and problems, it has a real crisis of credibility.”
He – like other observers – says that with names like Castro or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad headlining the group’s annual meeting, the group’s ability to shape international affairs is limited. Iran is due to assume the presidency in 2012.