Heads of state  gather in South Africa

Durban: CNN: Aug 31: Heads of state are gathering in South Africa for a summit of nations that formed to avoid superpower domination but now struggle to deal with post-Cold War problems.

Fifty-two leaders are to meet Tuesday and Wednesday at the 12th summit of the Nonaligned Movement.

Formed during the Cold War to fend off domination by the White House and the Kremlin, the movement is now struggling to define a new role.

Fallout from recent U.S. attacks on suspected terrorist targets in Sudan and Afghanistan and a growing conflict in Africa's Great Lakes region have dominated discussions so far.

A lower-level committee supported Sudan's call for an investigation of Washington's missile attacks on a factory in Khartoum to determine if the facility was a chemical weapons plant, as Washington claims.

Sudan says it was a pharmaceutical factory.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail called the committee's decision a step forward for justice. But unless the resolution receives unanimous backing from foreign ministers Monday and Tuesday, it will not be passed on for consideration by the heads of state.

No progress on the matter was apparent on Monday.

Sudan prepared to 'turn the page'

Sudan's foreign minister said Monday that if Washington acknowledged its error in bombing a factory in Khartoum, Sudan was prepared "to turn the page."

"We are open to turn the page against the U.S.A. if they acknowledge they got wrong information" about the nature of the plant, he said at a news conference.

The global stock market plunge that has swept across developing countries was also at the top of the summit's agenda.

Under discussion is a 62-page economics report commissioned at the last Nonaligned Movement summit three years ago in Colombia.

The report criticized the world's major financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, for ignoring the needs of the developing world.

It recommends speedy debt relief programs and a slower integration of poorer economies into global markets to avoid their exploitation by developed countries.

South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, welcoming foreign ministers, said the Nonaligned Movement should advance the cause of the poor.

"The world economy should be managed in a way that ensures the transfer of resources from those who have them to those that do not," he said.

Congo, nuclear testing are topics

Other summit topics include the war in Congo, whose government alleges that rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda are trying to unseat President Laurent Kabila's year-old government.

Kabila has received military support from Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, despite efforts led by South Africa to negotiate a settlement.

The crisis threatens to break apart the political cohesion just now emerging in southern Africa after South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994 elected President Nelson Mandela.

Mandela is the current chair of the group; about 100 nations sent delegates to the summit.