NAM Ministers Focus On Internatinal Crisis

Paul Ejimet

DURABN, S. Africa (PANA)September 1: International conflicts from Afganistan to the Democratic Republic of Congo, terrorism as well as the implications of globalisation and liberalisation remained the engaging topics as foreign ministers of developing nations rap up their meeting Tuesday ahead of the 12th summit of the non-aligned movement.

Although delegates tried to put up a brave face before the international media covering the conference of the 113-member orgaisation, it is obvious that the summiteers are having difficult negotiations on a number of issues.

''The meeting is going very well, '' said South African Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, who, however, admitted that there were several sticking points.

Acccording to most delegates, the crisis in Afganisatan where the Taleban's have siezed power, the recent US military actions against Sudan and Afganistan, the UN sanctions against Libya and the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are some of the issues which have engaged the attention of the ministers.

They are expected to recommend to the summit a declaration condemning terrrorism, but at the same time expressing solidarity with their members affected by Washington's air strikes, a summit official told PANA.

Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman has urged NAM support for Khartoum's call for an international investigation into the 20 August bombing, which killed one person.

On the Congo crisis, which now threatens regional security with the involvement of some neighbouring countries, delegates are pinning their hopes on a mini-summit of the Southern African Development Community.

Mbeki, denying that the crisis is affecting SADC solidarity, says there is hope for a ceasefire, withdrawal of foreign troops and the enthronement of an inclucive democratic government in the Congo.

''We (SADC) members are all agreed on these issues,'' he added. But informed sources say the absence of President Laurent Kabila at the Durban summit could be a problem.

On another front, delegates confirmed that South Africa could be playing a major role in reconciling two feuding Asian neighbours -- India and Pakistan -- which recently conducted nuclear tests.

Also, with recent statements from Washington and London agreeing to the trial at the Hague of two Libyan suspects linked with the bmbing of a Pan-Am aircraft in 1988, Tripoli expects a strong NAM support for the lifting of the UN embargo.

A North African diplomat who asked not to be named said ''the time is ripe for the world to end the sufferings of the Libyan people.''