Non-aligned states line up against US

The Non-Aligned Movement summit in Cuba has ended with members condemning Israeli attacks on Lebanon and calling for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear dispute between the US and Iran.

    Raul Castro stood in for his ill brother Fidel Castro

    The gathering in Havana brought together some of the world's staunchest critics of the US and its 92-page declaration said no one country or region should define democracy for the whole world.

    Many of the statements from some of the 50-plus heads of state and leaders from more than 100 developing countries contained criticism of the US.

    Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, said: "American imperialism is in decline. A new, bi-polar world is emerging."

    Nuclear defiance

    Chavez is to host a visit to Caracas by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on Sunday, who took the opportunity himself to say: "The US is turning the security council into a base for imposing its politics.

    "Why should people live under the nuclear threat of the US?" he said.

    "American imperialism is in decline. A new, bi-polar world is emerging"

    Hugo Chavez

    Other countries used the platform to maintain positions with North Korea defending its nuclear weapons programme and Sudan rejecting a UN peacekeeping mission for Darfur.

    Kim Yong Nam, who heads North Korea's parliament, said in a speech that the United States was "abusing the human rights issue" to interfere in the internal affairs of countries not allied to it.

    Housebound

    The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was formed in 1961 by nations that wanted to assert their independence from both Washington and Moscow but has been branded by some as a Cold war relic.

    An ailing Fidel Castro, the Cuban president, was named president of the movement, but he stayed at home on doctors' orders while the acting president, his brother Raul Castro, presided over the meeting.

    Despite the frequent anti-American rhetoric, some US allies at the summit, such as Pakistan and India, sought to steer the agenda away from confrontation and finger-pointing.

    Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Malaysian prime minister, said: "I don't regard this summit as anti-US, or for that matter anti-anybody."

    The next NAM summit will be held in 2009 in Egypt, Raul Castro announced.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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