(Wikipedia) - The 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement was held from 26 to 31 August 2012 in Tehran, Iran. The summit was attended by leaders of 120 countries, including 24 presidents, 3 kings, 8 prime ministers and 50 foreign ministers.
The summit's framework was the "Final Document" adopted during the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Coordinating Bureau which was held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 7 to 10 May. The Foreign Ministry also said that the agenda would primarily consist of issues pertaining to nuclear disarmament, human rights and regional issues. Iran also intended to draw up a new peace resolution aiming to resolve the Syrian civil war.
The summit consisted of two preceding events: a "Senior Officials Meeting" on 26 and 27 August 2012, and a "Ministerial Meeting" on 28 and 29 August 2012. The leaders' summit took place on 30 and 31 August. Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, officially handed the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during the inaugural ceremony of Leaders' Meeting. Iran will hold the NAM presidency for three years until the 17th summit in Venezuela in 2015.
As of August 2012, the organisation consists of 120 member states, including the non-UN member state of Palestine, and 21 other observer countries. The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations' members and contain 55% of the world's population.
Since the Non-Aligned Movement was formed in an attempt not to take sides during the Cold War, it has sought to seek a new direction since the fall of the Soviet Union. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, a founding member, its membership was suspended in 1992 at the regular ministerial meeting held in New York during the regular annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The summit was scheduled to be held at Kish Island but it was transferred to Tehran in 2010. According to Vice President Ali Saeedlou, who was the head of the organizing committee, up to 7,000 participants — including delegations and the media — were expected to attend the summit. To prepare for the meeting and reduce traffic and air pollution, a five-day public holiday in Tehran was called for the duration of the summit. Parts of Tehran was beautified with lamp posts and freshly painted road markings. Roads around the summit venue were closed to all but official vehicles. Iran's deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan stated "The police are on full alert during the Non-Aligned Movement summit." In addition, to raise security of the event, visa-free entry to Iran normally offered to nationals from several countries has been temporarily suspended.
The "Senior Officials Meeting" and "Ministerial Meeting" convened at the " (IRIB) RIB International Conference Center" (IICC). The summit was held at "Tehran’s Summit Conference Hall".
A spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that 24 presidents, 3 kings, 8 vice presidents, 8 prime ministers, 50 foreign ministers attended at the summit. By the first day of the summit, 110 delegations arrived in Tehran.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, announced that UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon would attend the conference. He also invited leaders of Russia, Turkey and Brazil to the summit. Mohamed Morsi, ex-president of NAM and the Egyptian President, also announced that he would participate in the summit. He was the first leader of his country to visit Iran since the Islamic Revolution.
Iran reportedly cancelled an invitation to Saudi Arabia to attend the summit. However, it was later announced that Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister, would participate in the summit upon the invitation of Saudi Arabia.
Afghanistan: Hamid Karzai -President
Algeria: Mourad Medelci -Foreign Minister
Azerbaijan: Elmar Mammadyarov -Foreign Minister
Bahrain: Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa -Foreign Minister
Bangladesh: Sheikh Hasina -Prime Minister
Belarus: Vladimir Makei -Foreign Minister
Benin: Yayi Boni -President
Bhutan: Jigme Thinley -Prime Minister
Bolivia: Álvaro García Linera -Vice President
Brunei: Pengiran Muda Mohamed Bolkiah -Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Burkina Faso: Blaise Compaoré -President
Cambodia: Hun Sen -Prime Minister
Central African Republic: François Bozizé -President
Colombia: Angelino Garzón -Vice President
Comoros: Nourdine Bourhane -Vice President
Chile: Alfredo Moreno -Foreign Minister
Cuba: José Ramón Machado Ventura -Vice President
Djibouti: Ismaïl Omar Guelleh -President
Ecuador: Lenín Moreno -Vice President
Egypt: Mohamed Morsi -President
Gabon: Ali Bongo Ondimba -President
Ghana: Muhammad Mumuni -Foreign Minister
Guinea-Bissau: Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo -President
Jordan: Prince Hassan bin Talal -Deputy Prime Minister
India: Manmohan Singh -Prime Minister
Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -President
Iraq: Nouri al-Maliki -Prime Minister
Indonesia: Boediono -Vice President
Kazakhstan: Yerzhan Kazykhanov -Foreign Minister
Kuwait: Muhammad Sabah -Deputy Prime Minister
Lebanon: Michel Suleiman -President
Lesotho: Mohlabi Tsekoa -Foreign Minister
Libya: Ashour Bin Khayal -Foreign Minister
Malaysia: Anifah Aman -Foreign Minister
Mali: Tiéman Coulibaly -Foreign Minister
Mauritania: Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz -President
Mauritius: Arvin Boolell -Foreign Minister
Mongolia: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj -President
Morocco: Abdelilah Benkirane -Prime Minister
Mozambique: Arlete Matola -Minister of the Presidential Office
Burma: Wunna Maung Lwin -Foreign Minister
Namibia: Marco Hausiku -Foreign Minister
Nepal: Baburam Bhattarai -Prime Minister
Nicaragua: Samuel Santos López -Foreign Minister
Nigeria: Namadi Sambo -Vice president
North Korea: Kim Yong-nam -President
Pakistan: Asif Ali Zardari-President
Palestinian territories: Mahmoud Abbas -President
Philippines: Jejomar Binay -Vice President
Oman: Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah -Foreign Minister
Qatar: Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani -Emir
Saudi Arabia: Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud -Deputy Foreign Minister
Senegal: Macky Sall -President
Singapore: Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam -Foreign Minister
South Africa: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane -Foreign Minister
Sri Lanka: Mahinda Rajapaksa -President
Sudan: Omar al-Bashir -President
Swaziland: Lutfo Dlamini -Foreign Minister
Syria: Wael Nader Al-Halqi -Prime Minister
Tanzania: Mohamed Gharib Bilal -Vice President
Thailand: Surapong Tovichakchaikul -Foreign Minister
Tunisia: Rafik Abdessalem -Foreign Minister
Turkmenistan: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow -President
Uganda: Yoweri Museveni -President
United Arab Emirates: Saud bin Rashid -Vice President
Venezuela: Elías Jaua -Vice President
Vietnam: Nguyen Tan Dung -Prime Minister
Zambia: Guy Scott -Vice President
Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe -President
Armenia: Eduard Nalbandyan -Foreign Minister
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Željko Jerkić -Ambassador and Department Head (Foreign Ministry)
Brazil: Michel Temer -Vice President
China: Zhang Zhijun -Deputy Foreign Minister
Croatia: Budimir Lonc(ar -Advisor to the President
Montenegro: Zoran Janković -General Director (Foreign Ministry)
Serbia: Ivan Mrkić' -Foreign Minister
Tajikistan: Emomalii Rahmon -President
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad commented on the significance of the summit in Iran: "Certain NAM states too have upheld sanctions against Iran which is a totally unwise move because the sanctions are not on part of the UN, rather unilaterally leveled by the U.S. The U.S. can issue any sort of sanctions it wants against Iran but there is no reason other countries to follow suit."
According to the Indonesia's ambassador to Iran, the summit will be "important and timely" under the current regional and international circumstances. He stressed: "During the Tehran summit, efforts should be made so that the path of developments stemming from the Islamic Awakening in the region will continue in a right way and not diverted to violence and conflict."
An Iranian government official also commented on the summit, reportedly saying that “the NAM summit is the best opportunity to confront the sanctions.” He added that "in meetings with the officials of member states, we should brief them on the illegality of these sanctions and talk to them to make these sanctions ineffective."
The base of the summit's negotiations' framework is the "Final Document" adopted during the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Coordinating Bureau which was held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 7 to 10 May 2012.
The Foreign Ministry also said that the agenda would primarily consist of issues pertaining to nuclear disarmament, human rights and regional issues. Iran also intended to draw up a new peace resolution aiming to resolve the Syrian civil war. During the summit, Iran will draw up a new peace resolution aiming to resolve the Syrian crisis.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi opened the first meeting and spoke of NAM's original goal: "We believe that the timetable for ultimate removal of nuclear weapons by 2025, which was proposed by NAM, will only be realized if we follow it up decisively." At the opening of the ministerial meeting Khamenei said: "The UN Security Council has an irrational, unjust and utterly undemocratic structure, and this is an overt dictatorship. The control room of the world (the Security Council) is under the control of the dictatorship of some Western countries."
The Senior Officials Meeting was held on 26 and 27 August 2012. The officials reviewed the Sharm el-Sheikh's document and issued a draft document which should be endorsed by the ministerial meetings. Iran's deputy foreign minister, Mohammad Mehdi Akhundzadeh, who is also secretary general of the senior officials meeting, read parts of the draft document at the press conference and mentioned some of the main points including rejection of all forms of terrorism, as well as all form of occupation including occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel, requesting weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapon disarmament, condemning unilateral sanctions and replacing uni-polar management of international politics with collective management. According to Akhundzadeh, the draft urges for a Middle East free from nuclear weapons and emphasizes "inalienable" right of all NAM member states for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, envisaged by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
The Ministerial Meeting with presence of foreign ministers of NAM countries was held on 28 and 29 August 2012. Egypt's Deputy Foreign Minister, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, handed the presidency of the ministerial meeting for three years at the opening ceremony of the meeting. After opening remark of Ali Akbar Salehi and listening to the report of Senior Officials Meeting which was delivered by Mohammad Mehdi Akhundzadeh, the ministers start to review the document. After preparation of the final document for the leaders' summit, Ali Akbar Salehi participated in a press conference and emphasized on the four main topics that were discussed at the meeting including establishment of a task force in New York to pursue Palestine's membership in the United Nations and act against Israel's "illegal" measures against Palestinians, finding solution for Syrian crisis with United Nations cooperation, acting against monopolizing of the financial mechanisms in the world by using US dollar and finally establishment of a work group in New York to study the mechanisms of plural management of the world .
On 30 August, the summit was inaugurated by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Then the Egyptian President, Mohammad Morsi, as the chair of the 15th summit declared opening of the 16th summit and presented the report of NAM's chairmanship during the past three years. Morsi officially handed the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement to the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After Morsi, President of the Sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Chair of the Group of 77 Mourad Benmehidi, host President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivered their opening speeches. Khamenei later commented that "the Non-Aligned Movement definitely has more political right than the US, NATO or some European countries to intervene in the Syrian issue"
Inaugurating the summit, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei condemned the use of nuclear and chemical weapons as an "unforgivable sin", and called for "Middle East Free from Nuclear Weapons". Khamenei argued that it was ironic for the US to oppose nuclear proliferation while, according it possessed the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and had used them in the past. He also accused the US and its Western allies of providing Israel with nuclear weapons. He criticized the UN Security Council as "unjust" and "undemocratic" and accused the US of abusing it. Other Iranian officials stated that the Security Council had more power than the General Assembly and criticized the veto rights of its permanent members. Khamenei accused the United States of protecting the interests of the Western countries in the name of "human rights", interfering militarily in other countries in the name of "democracy", and targeting civilians in the name of "combating terrorism". Khamenei accused Israel of assassinations, waging wars, killing people and occupying Arab territories. He referred to the Palestinians as "people who have stood up to fight for their rights." Khamenei also proposed improving the "political productivity" of the Non-Aligned Movement in global governance and called for a "historic document", an active secretariat, and administrative tools to achieve this. He also called for economic cooperation and for cultural relationships between NAM members.
Following Khamenei's remarks, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon criticized Iran's position towards Israel in his opening speech. He said it was "utterly wrong" to describe Israel in "racist terms" or to deny its right to exist. He further called Holocaust denial "outrageous". Ki-Moon called on both Iran and Israel to stop making threats against the other. While describing Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency as "constructive and useful," Ban Ki-Moon demanded that Iran boost global confidence in its nuclear program by "fully complying with the relevant (UN) Security Council resolutions and thoroughly cooperating with the IAEA." Ahmadinejad also declares a one minute of silence in honor of the late Iranian president and prime minister, Mohammad-Ali Rajai and Mohammad-Javad Bahonar that were assassinated in same day in 1981.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi denounced the Syrian government, an ally of Iran, calling it "oppressive" and said that it was an "ethical duty" to support the Syrian revolt against the Bashar al-Assad government. Walid Muallem, Syrian foreign minister, walked out in protest, although Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remained seated beside Morsi. Morsi called for a peaceful transition to freedom and democracy in Syria. Like Iran, Morsi also called for reform in the structure of the UN Security Council. Morsi echoed Iranian calls for a Nuclear-Free Middle East, and criticized Israel for refusing to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Morsi and Iran also both supported the Palestinian bid for a seat at the UN. At the summit Egypt's Mohammed Morsi also handed over the leadership of the body to Iran for the next three years.
Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, called for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Syria and pledged support for the Palestinian movement. He also called for reform in the UN Security Council, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The summit also drew up a draft resolution on ending the Syrian conflict.
The summit's final declaration ratified on 31 August by the 120 members of NAM, emphasizes on the right of all countries to develop and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In addition, it condemns unilateral sanctions, supports creation of a Palestinian state, advocates nuclear disarmament, human rights free from political agendas and opposition to racism and "Islamophobia". But due to lack of consensus among member states it did not mention to Syria's civil war.
At the end of the summit, Venezuela was declared as the host of the 17th summit with the consensus of the member states.
In an effort for Iran to prove that its nuclear programme is peaceful, the Foreign Ministry of Iran declared that Iran would arrange for officials from the Non-Aligned Movement to visit its nuclear facilities. In addition, the mangled remains of three cars in which Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated stood outside of the event venue to demonstrate that Iran has been a victim of terrorism, which Iran has accused the West as being responsible for.
While it is usual for the UN Secretary General to attend NAM Summits, the presence of Ban Ki-Moon was opposed by the United States and Israel. Haaretz reported that Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu had personally appealed to the secretary-general not to attend this summit and described Iran as "a regime that represents the greatest danger to world peace". In addition, according to Maariv, the Israeli Foreign Ministry ordered Israel's embassies to encourage their host countries not to attend or to send only lower-level representatives to the summit.
The government of the United States also publicly expressed displeasure over world leaders attending the summit. U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said: "We think that this is a strange place and an inappropriate place for this meeting. We have made that point to participating countries. We've also made that point to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. If he does choose to go, we hope he will make the strongest points of concern." Haaretz reported that both the United States and Israel believed that such a visit would break their efforts to isolate Iran from the international community by giving the country a "renewed international legitimacy."
Although the US and Israel had urged Ban to boycott the summit, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed that Ban would attend the summit. He hoped to meet with Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the sidelines of the summit to have "meaningful and fruitful discussions" and to "convey the international community's expectations that Iran make urgent progress on issues including the country's controversial nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria."
Still, Ban Ki-Moon signaled that he would not refrain from criticizing Iran at the summit. At the summit, harsh criticism of Iran's human rights record was leveled by Ban, which caught Iranian officials off guard.
During the summit Ban criticized Iran in calling the country to “…demonstrate that it can play a moderate and constructive role internationally, includes responsible action on the nuclear program” and “for the sake of peace and security in this region and globally, Iran to take the necessary measures to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.”
One of important outcomes of the 16th NAM summit came on 29 November 2012, when United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19 upgraded Palestine to non-member observer state status in the United Nations. It was adopted by the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly. The vote was approved by 138 nations while US, Canada and 7 vassal states shamelessly opposed it.