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Mbeki urges NAM leaders to stand up against war

24th February 2003

By: Terence Creamer
Creamer Media Editor

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Outgoing Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) chairperson Thabo Mbeki has called on leaders from developing nations to stand their ground in preventing an imminent war in Iraq, as well as act swiftly to turn the tide on poverty and underdevelopment in poorer countries.

Opening the three-day conference of the 13th NAM summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, President Mbeki, who is also African Union chairperson, warned the leaders that failure to resolve the issues in a ‘bold, determined and united manner’ would lead to the downfall of the globe.

‘We must position ourselves in word and deed as the enemies of anarchy…we have to act to neutralise the deadly impact of the tide, hungry for human blood, which seeks to celebrate a victory defined as the prevalence of an ephemeral peace, whose parent is the fear of death,’ said President Mbeki.

He added that a US led military assault on Iraq – a NAM member - would further entrench poverty and underdevelopment in developing nations. He said war would prevent the poor and weak ‘from participation in the formulation of a world agenda and programme of action that relates to the central question of whether we are considered human enough to decide what our own future shall be.’
He called on the leaders to rise up and seek peaceful solutions to an imminent standoff between Washington and Baghdad.

‘Inherent to this is the absolute necessity to act to ensure that we, who proclaim these positions, must not hesitate to act to ensure such a peaceful resolution even in instances that affect our member States.

‘It demands of us that we do everything we can to protect and advance the principle and practice of multilateralism. This requires that we fight even harder for the democratisation of the international system of governance,’ President Mbeki said.

Turning his focus to the 48-year-old organisation, which is set to be chaired next by Malaysia, Mr Mbeki reported that the movement, under his captaincy, had managed to highlight to other global forums such as the G8 and WSSD, amongst others debt eradication and the need to stop conflicts throughout the world.

He however warned of other remaining obstacles such as the scourge of AIDS, poverty, underdevelopment and the imbalances between the rich and poor countries that the movement needed to pay attention to. – BuaNews
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