Nzo Challenges Non-Aligned Movement

Paul Ejime,

DURBAN, South Africa (PANA) August 29- The South African foreign minister, Afred Nzo, Saturday challenged the 38-year-old Non-Aligned Movement to brace for daunting tasks ahead.

Opening a preparatory meeting of the 12th summit of NAM, he said the challenges of the new century are more complex than ever.

''They are intricate in their nature, potentially divisive and staggering in scope and depth,'' the minister told the meeting being attended by delegates and observers from more than 100 countries associated with the 113-member movement.

Nzo stressed the need for the organisation, set up in 1961 to moderate the two extreme ideologies of the cold war era, to now ''modernise and sharpen its instincts lest atrophy set in.''

With the demise of the former Soviet Union, resulting in a unipolar world with capitalism reigning supreme, the minister said ''uncertainty attends the prospect of how we (NAM) are to marshal the nest of our traditions in line with our founding principles and be effective enough to continue holding the moral edge of leadership.''

Members of the movement, he said, should ''cast anew many of the assumptions made in the past about rules of engagement of the international relations system. We must continue to be the conscience and the champions of the many voices of the weak and the powerless in defiance of the dominant hegemony of the strong and powerful.''

To live up to the aspirtations of these global changes, Nzo said members of the movement must address challenges ranging from ''globalisation and the liberalisation of the world economy, to sustainable development, good governance, poverty eradication, the peaceful resolution of disputes and the deepened interdependence of states.''

He said the Durban summit was taking place at critical moment for NAM to take stock and assume ''its rightful place and ensure that the interests and ambitions of the South are placed firmly on the agenda of the international community.''

This requires working together with ''partners both in the South and in the developed world to ensure that the benefits that could accrue to us from the processes of liberalised trade and globalised economic interaction are maximized and reach all our peoples and all our countries,'' the minister added.

Nzo said NAM must assume a ''more creative and dynamic approach to the challenges facing it.''