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NAM adopts Havana Declaration, condemns terrorism

By V S Chandrasekar in Havana
Last updated on: September 18, 2006 15:00 IST
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In a strong endorsement of India's position, the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement, on Sunday, expressed its total opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It asked countries to combat the menace, including by prosecuting and extraditing its perpetrators.

Burning the midnight oil and bringing to an end months of negotiations, the two-day NAM summit adopted the Havana Declaration and the 'final document' in the early hours of Sunday.

The declaration urges countries to refrain from extending political, diplomatic, moral or material support to terrorism under the UN Charter and also asking them to fulfill global obligations not to give it any support.

Being held in Cuba, an inveterate anti-US campaigner, the conference condemned unilateralism and attempts to exercise hegemonic domination in international relations, a favourite phraseology of Cuba for decades to attack Washington.

It resolved to oppose and condemn the categorisation of countries as 'good or evil' based on unilateral and unjustified criteria and the adoption of a doctrine of pre-emptive attack, including by nuclear weapons.

In a paragraph that could cause discomfort to Pakistan, the 91-page final document expressed deep concern that the terrorist groups, including the former Taliban, were regrouping in the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan. Equally of concern was that the efforts of international community to fight terrorism were being undermined by support, protection and shelter that these forces of destablisation continued to receive, it said.

Though the document did not not take the name of any country, sources said during the negotiations Pakistan had raised some objections to the wording.

India's campaign for reform of the United Nations, especially the Security Council, found support when the declaration and the document expressed concern over the lack of progress in the dicussions in the UN General Assembly on the question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Council. It called for efforts to make the Council more democratic, more representative, more accountable and more effective.

Taking concerns of countries like India on board on the issue of terrorism, the document said criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror among the people 'for whatever purposes, wherever, by whomever, against whomsoever committed are, in any circumstance, unjustifiable, whatever the considerations or factors that may be invoked to justify them'.

It asked the countries to fulfill their obligations under international and humanitarian law to combat terrorism, including by prosecuting or extraditing the perpetrators of terrorist acts and by not instigating or financing terror acts against other states.

The document called for the conclusion of a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism.

In a veiled attack on US, the summit opposed unilateralism in international relations as well as unilaterally imposed measures by certain states and the use of force and pressure to achieve their national policy objectives.

In the context of talk of clash of civilisations, the NAM countries sought a dialogue among cultures, civilisations and religions.

The summit reaffirmed the inalienable right of developing countries to engage in research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

It noted with concern that undue restrictions on export to developing countries of material, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes persist. The proliferation concerns must be addressed through multilaterally negotiated, universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory agreements, it said.

On North-South dialogue and cooperation, the summit acknowledged the need for interaction among the leaders of the developing world for forging compatible or complementary responses on global issues for a greater action.

In a declaration on Iran's nuclear issue, the conference said diplomacy and dialogue through peaceful means must continue to find a longterm solution and expressed conviction that the only way to resolve the issue is to resume negotiations without any pre-conditions.

It also adopted a declaration on Palestine and called on four countries involved in mediation to remain actively engaged in both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to bring about resumption of direct and substantial negotiations.

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V S Chandrasekar in Havana
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