Mérida, 31st August 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela has welcomed its designation to hold the next presidency of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), while arguing for the need to break with “neo-colonial systems” during the close of this year’s NAM summit in Tehran.
Venezuela’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, declared that the next NAM summit in Caracas in 2015 would be a “historic moment” and that Venezuela is committed “to undertake all efforts for the NAM to continue playing the important role it has in the world”.
Maduro made the comments during the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit, hosted by Iran, which will now hold the organisation’s presidency for three years. The NAM has 120 members, almost two-thirds of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
In his speech, Venezuela’s Maduro argued that new strategies were needed to construct political projects supported by the non-aligned nations. He described Venezuela’s proposal to the summit as “the construction of a multipolar and multi-centric world, for which it’s necessary to unite forces and break political ties that have trapped us in neo-colonial systems for years”.
On the UN, Maduro proposed that power rest with the General Assembly in a “multi-polar structure” and that all nations participate in the election of the General Secretary.
Venezuelan delegates to the conference argued that the Latin America and Caribbean region is an example of the construction of a multi-polar world, a term referring to the shift away from a unipolar world order dominated by the United States.
“The Latin American experience of integration, with the creation of the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), the Unasur (Union of South American Nations) and the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas), where respect for diversity plays a fundamental role, can be taken advantage of by the NAM, to use diversity…and to play an active role at the international level,” said Venezuelan vice foreign minister for Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania, David Velasquez, during the summit.
In his contribution, Maduro also attacked US “aggression” in Latin America, and condemned the on-going US economic blockade of Cuba. He furthermore spoke in favour of full Puerto Rican independence and supported Argentina’s claim to the British-held Malvinas / Falkland Islands.
The minister also backed the right of Palestinians to “an independent country with secure borders” while describing Israel’s conduct in the Middle East as “unacceptable”.
A key issue at the Non Aligned Movement summit was the civil conflict in Syria. On Wednesday Iranian authorities announced an initiative by which the NAM Triumvirate of Egypt, Iran and Venezuela, the past, current and future NAM presidencies, would form a mission to explore solutions to the crisis.
The move came after the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, asked Iran to use its influence to help end the conflict.
“In times where many other international organisations have become involved in the Syria issue, it’s not right that the movement of non-aligned countries stay on the sidelines,” said Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Saleni to press.
Iran and Venezuela are part of a group of nations that back Syrian president Bashar Al.Assad, and seek a negotiated political solution to the armed conflict with rebels, which has left thousands dead since March 2011.
Referring particularly to the US and allied nation’s policy toward Syria, who are pushing for Al-Assad to step down from power, Maduro said on Wednesday, “First of all the great powers should understand that they must stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and allow peace, tranquility and independence to prevail”.
However, a joint effort by the NAM triumvirate on Syria seemed less likely yesterday when Egypt’s president Mohamed Mursi opposed the Iranian-led position, calling on the “moral obligation” to support opposition to Al-Assad and describing the situation there as “a revolution in Syria against a repressive regime”. The Syrian delegation to the summit walked out in protest.
Despite differences over the crisis in Syria, in the summit’s final declaration passed today NAM countries opposed any foreign military intervention in the Middle Eastern nation. Other points of agreement included condemnation of the institutional coup in Paraguay and the US blockade against Cuba, backing for Argentina’s Malvinas claim, and support for Ecuador in its dispute with Britain over granting asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.