‘Strengthen Venezuela ties’ Pres­i­dent ar­rives for 17th Non-Aligned Move­ment sum­mit

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mabasa Sasa in Islha Mar­garita, Venezuela

PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe has said the Non-Aligned Move­ment must find com­mon ground to tackle pow­er­ful na­tions that seek to un­der­mine the eco­nomic sovereignty of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Speak­ing to Zim­bab­wean and in­ter­na­tional me­dia soon af­ter ar­riv­ing in the Venezue­lan is­land of Mar­garita yes­ter­day, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe also called for strength­en­ing of bi­lat­eral ties with the host of the 17th NAM sum­mit.

“It is pos­si­bly the fourth or fifth time we are vis­it­ing Venezuela and it is, there­fore, an oc­ca­sion to re­new our re­la­tions with Venezuela.

“We would want to see those re­la­tions blos­som and see us co­op­er­at­ing in many spheres. (Th­ese are) fields that have to do with our in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion, fields that have to also do with the so­cial as­pect of the health of our peo­ple.

“(We are also look­ing at) our re­la­tions to­gether as we re­late to the United Na­tions in de­fence of our­selves against pow­ers that seek to harm our economies.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe; who is ac­com­pa­nied by First Lady Dr Grace Mu­gabe, Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try Min­is­ter Wal­ter Mzembi and se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials was re­ceived at Mar­garita In­ter­na­tional Air­port by Venezuela’s Min­is­ter of Cul­ture Mr Reinaldo Itur­riza, the lo­cal mayor and se­nior of­fi­cials from Venezuela’s for­eign af­fairs min­istry, as well as Zim­babwe’s am­bas­sador to the re­gion Mr Thomas Bvuma.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has on sev­eral oc­ca­sions chal­lenged NAM to eval­u­ate its rel­e­vance and lead the process of re­form­ing mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions and the United Na­tions in pur­suit of a more equitable global or­der.

It is a mes­sage Venezuela’s Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro Moros also be­lieves in, say­ing ahead of the Sum­mit “we have a plan to jointly drive ... this great his­toric move­ment and con­vert it into a spear­head to re­form the sys­tem of the UN, so that it serves the peo­ple and not the elites of the world”.

NAM has 120 mem­bers and is fo­cused on self­de­ter­mi­na­tion, in­de­pen­dence, and sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity in the face of in­creas­ing uni­lat­er­al­ism in global af­fairs led by the United States and abet­ted by the Euro­pean Union.

Es­tab­lished in 1961 as a bold state­ment to the then ex­ist­ing at­tempt to cre­ate a bipo­lar world di­vided be­tween the US and the now de­funct USSR, NAM es­poused the es­tab­lish­ment of a new in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic or­der in which all na­tions were equal.

It is the largest in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion af­ter the United Na­tions, and its Sum­mit this year takes place on the eve of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in the US.

Venezuela’s For­eign Min­is­ter Delcy Ro­driguez has said, “The Sum­mit will of­fer a broad plat­form for a fun­da­men­tal change in in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic re­la­tions and the com­plete eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion of South­ern coun­tries.”

Pres­i­dent Maduro as­sumes NAM’s ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency from Iran’s Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani.

The host na­tion has been wracked by pro-US op­po­si­tion protests, and the gov­ern­ment has de­ployed 14 000 se­cu­rity per­son­nel on Mar­garita, which lies about 23km north of the main­land, to pro­tect NAM del­e­gates.

At the end of the 2012 Sum­mit, lead­ers is­sued the Tehran Dec­la­ra­tion which em­pha­sised the right of all coun­tries to de­velop and use nu­clear en­ergy for peace­ful pur­poses while ad­vo­cat­ing for nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment, con­demned uni­lat­eral im­po­si­tion of sanc­tions, sup­ported cre­ation of a Pales­tinian state, and sup­ported hu­man rights free from po­lit­i­cal agen­das and op­po­si­tion to racism and Is­lam­o­pho­bia.

NAM has con­sis­tently crit­i­cised il­le­gal Western sanc­tions uni­lat­er­ally im­posed on Zim­babwe.

There have been con­cerns, though, about NAM’s con­tin­ued rel­e­vance since the 1989 fall of the Ber­lin wall, with an­a­lysts say­ing the bloc should find ways of ad­vanc­ing the agenda of de­vel­op­ment when con­fronted with neo­colo­nial­ism and a de­struc­tive brand of ne­olib­er­al­ism.

Mem­bers of the Par­lia­men­tary Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Fi­nance and De­vel­op­ment lis­ten to the pub­lic dur­ing a hear­ing on 2017 Na­tional bud­get con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing at the Small City Hall in Bulawayo yes­ter­day

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