Report of the Chair on
the Activities of the Non-Aligned Movement, Ministerial Meeting, Millennium
Following the XIII Ministerial Conference in Cartagena, the Coordinating Bureau met to discuss the NPT 2000 Review Conference, the Movement's positions on the Millennium Summit, and to coordinate inputs for the message from the Chair of the Movement to the Group of Eight Industrialised Countries at the Okinawa Summit.
The Coordinating Bureau decided on 1 June 2000, to convey the request of the Government of Sudan and of the Arab Group, to the Security Council calling for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Sudan under resolutions 1044, 1054 and 1070 of 1996. The Chair of the Coordinating Bureau wrote a letter to the President of the Security Council, dated 1 June 2000, expressing the Movement's consensus for the request of Sudan.
The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, meeting in New York on 27 July 2000, decided to issue a statement expressing the Movement's concern at, and opposition to, the intention of the United States Government to adopt legislation ('the Zimbabwe Democracy Act 2000') which seeks to prohibit assistance or debt relief from being extended by the US to Zimbabwe, to block further assistance by international financial institutions, and furthermore attempts to prescribe the outcome of the ongoing land reform process in Zimbabwe.
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Activities of the NAM Working Groups and Committees
NAM Working Group on Disarmament
The Ambassador of Indonesia, in his capacity as Chair of the NAM Working Group on Disarmament, presented a report to the 1 June 2000 monthly meeting of the CoB on the Working Group's activities during the 2000 NPT Review Conference. The Chair of the Working Group noted that many positions of the NAM had been incorporated in the outcome of the Conference. He also reported that the Conference had achieved positive results and that the Movement should maintain the momentum to ensure successful implementation of the results.
NAM Working Group on Peace-keeping Operations
The Ambassador of Jordan, in his capacity as Chair of the NAM Working Group on Peace-keeping Operations, convened a meeting on 25 August 2000 of the Working Group for a preliminary discussion on the Secretary-Generals Report on Peace Operations (Brahimi Report).
NAM Working Group on Sixth Committee Matters
The NAM Working Group on Sixth Committee matters convened on a number of occasions, in the context of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, in order to consider the question of the convening of a High Level Conference on Terrorism. During the Fourth and Fifth Sessions of the Prep Com on the establishment of the International Criminal Court, the NAM Working Group met regularly to develop joint positions on the crime of aggression, and to consider outstanding issues relating to elements of crime and the rules of procedure and evidence.
NAM Working Group for the Restructuring of the Security Council
The NAM Working Group for the Restructuring of the Security Council, Chaired by Egypt, met twice to discuss reform and expansion of the Security Council in the context of the report of the Open Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council, for the 54th General Assembly Session.
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Non-Aligned Security Council Caucus
The NAM Troika continued to interact regularly at the beginning of each month with the Non-Aligned Security Council Caucus to discuss the monthly agenda of the Security Council and to convey the positions of the Movement on the agenda items to the Caucus coordinator. This is in line with the call of the Heads of State or Government at the Cartagena Summit to continue and enhance coordination between Members of the Non-Aligned Security Council Caucus and other members of the Movement through the Coordinating Bureau.
The Joint Coordinating Committee of the NAM and G77 (JCC), Co-Chaired by South Africa and Nigeria, met every other month in New York to coordinate inputs ensuring that the concerns of the developing countries were reflected in the Millennium Summit preparations and draft outcome document. The consensus reached during these meetings laid the foundations for the participation of developing countries in the open ended informal plenary consultations to decide the agenda and methodology for the Millennium Summit.
The South African High Commissioner to Malaysia delivered a statement on behalf of the Chair of the NAM, at the 27th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, 27-30 June 2000. The statement emphasised the need for South-South co-operation in addressing the challenges posed by the imbalances brought about by globalisation. It further stated that the eradication of poverty is essential to obtaining sustainable, people-centred development.
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Dialogue with Developed Countries
Recalling paragraph 33 of the Final Document of the XII Summit, the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement has been mandated by the Heads of State or Government to consult with the Group of Eight Industrialised countries (G8) on a continuous basis with a view to promote a meaningful and productive dialogue, so as to reach better understanding and enhance positive responses to the development aspirations of the developing countries.
Pursuant to this mandate the NAM Troika at Senior Officials-level participated in a preparatory meeting in preparation for the annual meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the NAM Troika, the Chair of the G77, and the Foreign Ministers of the G8. The holding of a preparatory meeting of Senior Officials for the first time indicates a deepening and strengthening of the dialogue between the North and the South. It is the intention that this format of meetings will be repeated at the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, in 2001.
The annual meeting between the NAM Troika of Foreign Ministers, accompanied by the Chair of the Group of 77 (G77), and the Foreign Ministers of the G8, took place in Miyazaki, Japan on 13 July 2000. The message from the Chair of NAM to the President of the G8, in the form of a letter, was also submitted to the G8 on this occasion. In addition to the former mentioned participants, the G8 Ministers also invited the Foreign Minister of Thailand, in the latters capacity as President of UNCTAD X and Chair of ASEAN, to attend the Foreign Ministers meeting.
A further North-South meeting at the level of Heads of State or Government was held with the leaders of the G8 in Tokyo on the eve of the Okinawa Summit. President Thabo Mbeki, Chair of NAM, came to this meeting accompanied by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, of Algeria. They came to carry out an OAU Summit mandate to speak to the G8 on Africas debt problem. President Olusegun Obasanjo came representing the G77. Furthermore, President Mbeki and President Obasanjo carried the mandate from the South Summit held in Havana, Cuba, to convey the outcome of the South Summit to the G8.
In reviewing the final outcome of the Okinawa Summit, it becomes clear that for the first time the G8 Summit focussed on the agenda of the South. The outcome showed a systematic focus by the G8 on the needs of developing countries. In fact some leaders of the North have reiterated this point in the aftermath of the Okinawa meetings.
A summary of the issues addressed in all three meetings the Senior Officials meeting, the Ministerial Meeting and the meeting of Heads of State or Government - includes:
For the first time, there was agreement between the North and the South that the impact of globalisation was uneven. Both sides agreed that there need to be a commitment toward a renewed focus on development to make globalisation beneficial to both the North and the South.
On this issue Non-Aligned Ministers called for the implementation of the Cologne Summit decisions. In response, the G8 leaders recommitted themselves to the Enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the G8 agreed to strengthen their efforts to assist the affected countries with effective debt relief. In another positive development, the G8 made a commitment to promote responsible lending and borrowing practices in order to prevent rehabilitated HIPCs from again being burdened by unsupportable debt.
However, the G8 leaders expressed concern at the number of Highly Indebted Poor Countries that are involved in serious conflicts. In this regard they believe that funds made available through debt relief should be aimed at the effective reduction of poverty, and not on expenditures that perpetuate conflict situations.
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Developing countries have long argued that increased trade is an effective method to precipitate sustained growth and to advance sustained economic development. This fact is acknowledged by the significant development in the G8s agreement to improve access to their markets. The Foreign Ministers of the G8 were unanimous in calling for a new round of trade negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) during this year, a position that is consistent with the demands of the membership of the Movement. The G8 leaders stated that they want these negotiations to be based on an agenda that is balanced, inclusive and reflective of the interests of all the members of the WTO.
The G8 asserted that these negotiations ought to focus on:
The G8 leaders also committed themselves to the enhancement of developing countries (especially LDCs) capacity to participate effectively in the global trading system and also in principle to improve market access for developing countries.
However, although these measures proposed by the industrialised countries seem far-reaching, it must be pointed out that they fall short of the expectations of developing countries. In this regard the NAM called for the urgent implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements, especially in the areas of agriculture, textile and clothing sectors as well as those pertaining to market access for LDCs, a position that must remain a priority with the Movement.
The Non-Aligned Movement argued that the capacity to develop and utilise technology, especially Information Technology (IT), could expand economies and thus enhance public welfare spending. Consequently, the NAM maintained that opportunities created by the development of new technologies must be open to all. In yet another important and positive development the G8 Summit renewed its focus on the digital divide. In fact the leaders of the G8 later adopted a "Charter on Global Information Society" at their Summit that addresses many pressing issues related to the question of information technology.
The G8 also established a Digital Opportunities Task Force (dot force) to evaluate the possibilities for bridging the international information and knowledge divide. The Chair believes that this creates an opportunity for the South to seek ways to interact with this mechanism in order to ensure that the needs of developing countries are properly reflected in the "dot force" report to the next G8 Summit.
The nature of the interaction with the G8 is indicative of the change in the attitude of the developed countries towards development issues and the peculiar needs of developing countries. The G8 Communiqué stressed the need for instituting partnerships with developing countries in order to address the challenges of ever-intensifying globalisation.
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The Chair of the Movement remained actively involved in pursuing the long-standing objective of promoting the interests and rights of the Palestinian people in international fora as well as promoting the broader objective of achieving a lasting and just peace in the Middle East.
President Mbeki, as Chair of NAM, met with President Yasser Arafat in Pretoria, South Africa, on 4 August 2000, to be briefed on current developments in the Middle East peace process, and the efforts of the Palestinians to arrive at a Final Status Agreement. President Mbeki reiterated the longstanding support of South Africa and the Non-Aligned Movement for an independent Palestinian State.
In this regard the South African Ambassador in Paris delivered a statement, on behalf of the Chair of the Movement, during the United Nations International Conference on Palestine Refugees, in Paris from 26-27 April 2000. The statement called for the implementation of UN resolutions relating to Palestine refugees and reiterated the NAM's position that the UN has permanent responsibility to remain engaged on the matter of Palestine until all aspects related to the question are effectively solved.
Furthermore, the South African Ambassador in Athens delivered a statement on behalf of the Chair of the NAM at the United Nations International Meeting in Support of a Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine and the Establishment of Peace in the Middle East, 24 May 2000. In the statement the Chair re-iterated the Movement's unwavering support for the restoration of the legitimate and universally recognised rights of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, it was emphasised that peaceful negotiation is the only means of ensuring lasting peace, security and stability in the region.