Porlamar (Venezuela) | Crisis-hit Venezuela today assumed NAM’s presidency as leaders of the 120-nation group, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, began deliberations on contemporary issues like UN reform and terrorism with the bloc seeking relevance in the post-Cold War world.
Venezuela, an OPEC member and home to one of the world’s largest oil reserves, assumed the movement’s rotating presidency from Iran which had hosted the bloc’s summit in 2012.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while opening the 17th meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), said the member countries have the opportunity to discuss the concerns and the developments at the bilateral and international level.
During the past four years under Iran’s presidency NAM was involved in many activities at the UN. There have been meetings on disarmament, maintaining peace and human rights and several rounds of negotiations were held with the north countries, Rouhani noted.
The summit is convening at a time when peace is being threatened all across the world, he said. “National sovereignty of developing states is being constantly violated”.
Iran was the first to warn of “Takfirism” in Syria, he said.
NAM countries should not pin their hopes on big powers to achieve development and growth, he asserted.
The “Zionist regime” is trying to exploit the situation in the Middle East, the Iranian President said, adding that Iran supports the cause of the Palestinians.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accepted the presidency and vowed to strengthen the bloc. He said Iran’s presidency of the movement had given a “new dynamism” to the movement.
The summit in Venezuela comes amid anti-government protests in the South American country. A number of people were arrested there earlier this month after President Maduro was greeted by pot-banging demonstrators during a visit to the Margarita island.
The government has deployed over 14,000 security personnel to the region in a bid to contain any unrest near the summit.
The roads bore a deserted look as the summit began with security personnel keeping sharp vigil on the routes from the hotels where delegations from various countries are staying to the venue.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.