The 9th Summit Of The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

September 7, 1989
2 mins read







This week, the Yugoslav Capital of Belgrade, has been hosting the 9th Summit of the Non-Aligned countries. An organisation of 102 countries, with the admission of Venezuela, and two National Liberation Movements, SWAPO and the PLO, the NAM, represents an overwhelming voice of the underdeveloped countries of the world.


This year’s Summit was expected to shift from the traditional anti-imperialism of its Declarations, according to a Yugoslav draft document, to a much more pragmatic offer of support for rapport, with the advanced capitalist countries, the main creditors of the heavily-indebted NAM countries.


At the opening session of the Summit, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, outgoing President of the Movement, made it clear that the basic platform of the struggles against imperialist plunder, the debt burden and anti-racism, were still very much relevant. Mugabe cautioned, that a pragmatic bent, must not be an opportunistic construct to destroy principles, which go back to the founding fathers of the movement: Tito, Nehru, Sukarno, Nasser, and Nkrumah.


As the conference proceeded, the concerns which gained prominence, from the speech of the United Nations Secretary General onwards, included the settling of regional conflicts, the debt burden of the developing countries, the environment, and the need for a detailed strategy against the dumping of toxic wastes.


The Non-Aligned Movement emerged from the World Order that came out of the destructions of the Second World War. The colonial systems of the imperial powers had collapsed, while a new socialist system had also emerged in Eastern Europe. The Chinese Revolution also triumphed in October, 1949.


This great divide was built around contending views of the world, and was further complicated by the Cold War, the massive preparations for a new war, and the nuclear weapons of the two camps. The founding fathers of the non-Aligned Movement, conceived of an organisation which would not trap the newly-freed countries in the destructive rivalry between imperialism and socialism. While at the same time, providing a basis for the completion of the decolonisation process.


From its origins, the NAM has been an objectively, anti-imperialist organisation. It is testimony to its efficacy, that it could bring together so many countries, with such diverse belief-systems, as Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Cuba, Malawi, Kenya, or Nigeria. As the war against colonial rule, has all but been won, newer tasks have certainly emerged on the horizon of the movement. On a world-wide scale, there is a movement away from the more bellicose responses to international development, which is most important.


But our countries are still trapped in a vicious cycle of underdevelopment, a deadly debt-trap, and a most direct threat to our sovereignty, all of which are potent threats to world peace. This week’s Non-Aligned Summit in Belgrade will be living up to the demands of the peoples and of history, if it could work out newer ways of solving lingering problems of member countries.


At the same time, our leaders must find the political will to settle the regional conflicts which eat up so much resources that should go into the development process, have caused so much grief to millions of the poor people, and have been excuses for the intervention of the big powers in our countries. Belgrade should be more than a talk shop, but must be the source of a new. Re-vitalisation of this all-important movement of the world’s most populous group of countries.

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