"This represents a danger toward international peace. We have been harmed (by) all sorts of harm from the Security Council, it has become a sword over our necks."

The NAM is the largest grouping of countries outside of the UN, made up of mostly African, Asian and Latin American nations.

The summit, held every three years, will this year focus on "international solidarity for peace and development".

Significant meetings are taking place on the sidelines, including one between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India over stalled peace talks.

'New world order'

Raul Castro, the Cuban president, in his opening speech, issued a call to create a financial system that is fairer to developing nations in light of the global recession.

"As usual, the wealthy countries were the source of the current crisis, which was affected by the ... illogic of the international economic order that depends on blind market principles and consumption, and wealth of the few," he said.

"So we call for the creation of a new international financial and economic structure that is based on actual participation of all states, and especially developing states."

Mubarak has argued for a new global political, economic and trade order [Reuters]
Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, also called for a new "international political, economic and trade order" to be established.

"A more just and balanced order that prevents discrimination and double standards, achieves the interests of all, takes into account concerns of developing countries and establishes democratic dealings between rich and poor states," Mubarak said.

While the summit is expected to largely focus on the economic crisis, Sheila Sisulu, from the World Food Programme, told Al Jazeera she hopes it also addresses the plight of those most vulnerable to food insecurity.

She said while the G8 summit earlier this month in Italy pledged help to make poor nations become self-sufficient, there would "always be people ... whose food security will not be addressed by agricultural development".

Sisulu felt the most vulnerable should always be catered for. "At the moment, with high food prices, we at the World Food Programme are only 25 per cent funded this year," she said.

India-Pakistan talks

Pakistani and Indian officials were set to meet on Thursday on the sidelines of the summit in a bid to restart peace talks between the two sub-continental neighbours.

Yousuf Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister said on Wednesday that peace between the two was "achievable".

"We believe durable peace in South Asia is achievable"

Yousuf Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister

"There has recently been some forward movement in our relations with India," Gilani said. "We hope to sustain this momentum and move towards comprehensive engagement."

"We believe durable peace in South Asia is achievable. It will be facilitated by the resolution of all outstanding disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

But in a remark echoing previous statements made to Pakistan, Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, said the "infrastructure of terrorism" must be dismantled.

"There should be no safe haven for terrorists because they do not represent any cause, group or religion," Singh said in his opening speech. "Terrorists and those who aid and abet them must be brought to justice."

Reconciliation talks between New Delhi and Islamabad stalled after last November's attacks in the Indian commercial capital, Mumbai, which killed nearly 170 people.

India says the assailants were members of the banned Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba and has condemned Islamabad for failing to take action against them.

Iran-Egypt thaw

Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister, has held talks with his Egyptian counterpart [AFP]

In another set of diplomatically significant meetings, the Egyptian and Iranian foreign ministers have held three rounds of talks this week, the two countries' diplomats said on Tuesday.

Formal diplomatic ties were severed in 1979 when Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel.

An Iranian diplomat said the talks between Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister, and Manouchehr Mottaki, his Iranian counterpart, took place in "a positive and cordial atmosphere".

Hossam Zaki, the Egyptian foreign minister's spokesman, said the two countries have had their differences but expressed hope that they could work together for "stability in the region."