Report of the Chair on the Activities of the Non-Aligned Movement, Ministerial Meeting, New York, November 2001
Following a request by the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Yasser Arafat, President Mbeki, in his capacity as Chairperson of NAM, convened a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the NAM Committee on Palestine on 3 May 2001 in Pretoria, South Africa, to discuss the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem. The meeting, chaired by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, was attended by Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Palestine, Senegal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Committee also invited the NAM Security Council Caucus, the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Jordan, a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, and the Chair of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Both Presidents Mbeki and Arafat addressed the Ministers. The meeting also received a comprehensive report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine, Mr. Farouk Khaddoumi, which focused on the peace process since the signing of the Oslo Agreement. The Ministers adopted a Statement of the Chair and a Communiqué which calls forfour broad measures namely:
Furthermore, the Ministers of the NAM Committee on Palestine called on all NAM Members to fully support efforts aimed at the achievement of these goals. The Committee recommended that the Chair work with various forces influential in the Middle East for the attainment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which will enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to an independent State.
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25TH MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF HEALTH OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT
The 25th Meeting of the Health Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement took place on 26 & 27 March 2001 in Sandton, South Africa, under the theme "Health, Trade and Development: Aligning Health Sector Reform." The South African Minister of Health, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, chaired the Meeting. The first day of the Meeting provided the Ministers with the opportunity for interactive debate in the form of round-table discussions on two important issues namely, the development of health systems and the securing of access to essential medicines.
The first round table discussion "Health Systems Development: Defining the Roles of the Public and Private Sector (including NGOs), in an Equity Based System", chaired by Minister C. Martinez of Cuba, acknowledged that the need for health care for all remains a fundamental goal of the NAM and that it is an essential element in addressing poverty. Moreover, it was acknowledged that health care systems should be organised in a multifaceted manner in order to be effective. The second Ministerial round table discussion on "Securing Access to Essential Medicines: Exploring the options available to developing countries" was chaired by the Minister of Health of India, Dr CP Thakur.
The Ministers adopted a final Declaration and considered a draft resolution to be tabled at the forthcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva. The resolution reflected the Movement’s grave concern with regard to the burden posed by communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS, and fully supported the South African Government in its battle in the court action instituted by pharmaceutical companies. It called for the co-operation and solidarity of all developing countries in this regard
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THE ROLE OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT
Application for Observer Status:
On 30 July 2001 the Chair of the Movement received a letter from the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Goran Svilonovic, in which Yugoslavia formally applied for Observer Status in the Non-Aligned Movement. In accordance with the Methodology of the Movement, the letter of application was circulated amongst the Membership of the NAM for consideration and discussion in the Co-ordinating Bureau. Subsequently, the Coordinating Bureau has recommended that Yugoslavia’s application be considered at the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the NAM in the context of the 56th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The Non-Aligned Movement Trust Fund for the Liberation of Southern Africa:
An amount of US $ 275 000, 00 was transferred to a trust account "Trust Fund for the Non-Aligned Movement," held by South Africa on behalf of the Membership. The trust account "Liberation of Southern Africa" was previously held in a trust account by Yugoslavia as the former NAM Chair.
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ACTIVITIES OF THE CO-ORDINATING BUREAU (COORDINATING BUREAU)
The Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau (Coordinating Bureau) issued a press release following the verdict by the Scottish Court sitting in the Netherlands regarding the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, on 31 January 2001. In the statement the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau called for the lifting for the total lifting of the sanctions that have been in place against Libya since 1992, thereby reiterating the decision of the Foreign Ministers of the NAM, as taken at the Ministerial Meeting in Cartagena in 2000, that Libya had fulfilled its obligations in terms of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
The matter was also discussed in the Coordinating Bureau meeting at Ambassadorial level on 6 February 2001. In accordance with the decision of that meeting the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau forwarded letters to the President of the Security Council as well as to the UN Secretary-General. These letters affirmed the positive actions and co-operation that were extended by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and requested the Council to urgently consider the adoption of a resolution on the immediate and complete lifting of the sanctions imposed on Libya.
In addition, the letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations expressed the Movement’s deep appreciation for the positive role the Secretary-General has fulfilled in brokering an agreement between Libya, the United States and the United Kingdom and urged the Secretary-General to remain seized with the matter until a complete and final solution has been reached.
On 19 February 2001 following the United States military airstrikes against Iraq, the Chair issued a statement reaffirming the position adopted on this issue in the Final Document of the XII NAM Summit (1998) and by the NAM Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the XIII Ministerial Conference (2000).
Question of Palestine:
The Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau delivered a number of statements on behalf of the NAM in open debates in the UN General Assembly and in the Security Council on the Question of Palestine and Peace in the Middle East.
At the request of the Arab Group, an Extraordinary Coordinating Bureau Meeting was convened on 13 October 2000 to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including Palestine. Also at the request of the Arab Group, an Extraordinary Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau was convened on 5 Dec 2000 to discuss the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. On 6 December, the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau, acting on the decision of the Ambassadors, forwarded a letter to the President of the Security Council expressing the serious concern of the Movement at the escalating number of deaths and injuries with the continuing excessive use of force by Israel, and emphasised the crucial need for the deployment of a protection force.
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia:
The Chair of the Coordinating Bureau addressed the UN General Assembly on 1 November 2000 on behalf of Movement welcoming the admittance of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a member of the United Nations.
Coercive Economic Measures:
On 19 October 2000, the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau addressed the UN General Assembly under the agenda item "Elimination of Coercive Measures as a Means of Political and Economic Compulsion". He reiterated the condemnation of the Heads of State or Government at the XII NAM Summit of unilateral coercive measures and unfair economic practices. He emphasised that the aim of the NAM was to create a multilateral rules-based system.
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ACTIVITIES OF THE NAM WORKING GROUPS AND COMMITTEES
NAM Working Group on Disarmament:
The Permanent Representative of Indonesia, as Chair of the Working Group, reported to the Coordinating Bureau on 26 July 2001 and highlighted the high level of participation of NAM countries in the UN Conference in the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All it Aspects. He commended the leading role of Ambassador C. Reyes of Colombia as well as that of Ambassador C. Dos Santos of Mozambique. The positive and constructive approach demonstrated by NAM Members reflected the solidarity of the Members on this issue. He welcomed the Programme of Action adopted by the Conference as containing realistic and implementable measures to urgently address the serious and persistent problems caused by the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.
NAM Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations:
The Working Group, chaired by the Ambassador of Jordan, participated actively in the Extraordinary Session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations held in October and November 2000 as well as the regular session of the Special Committee in June and July 2001. The Chair addressed the Fourth Committee (UNGA55) on behalf of NAM under the agenda item "Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in all their Aspects" on 8 November 2000. The focus of the last two sessions of the Special Committee centred on the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (Brahimi Report) and the subsequent Report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Comprehensive Review of the UN Secretariat.
NAM Working Group on Sixth Committee Matters:
The Co-ordinator of the NAM on the Crime of Aggression in the context of the Statute of the International Criminal Court Dr. Saeid Mirzaee-Yengejeh of the Islamic Republic of Iran, reported to the Coordinating Bureau on 16 March 2001 and highlighted the unified NAM position on the Crime of Aggression as adopted in Cartagena in May 1998, as well as on the outcome of the various meetings of the NAM Working Group during the meeting of the Commission in February/March 2001.
There was widespread support for an experts group to do some further work to strengthen the NAM position on the Crime of Aggression in preparation of the next meeting of the Commission in September/October 2001.
NAM Working Group for the Restructuring of the Security Council:
The Ambassador of Egypt, as the Chair of the NAM Working Group, addressed the Open-Ended Working Group on Security Council Reform at its session in March 2001 and reiterated the established NAM positions on Council reform.
Working Group on Human Rights:
On 1 November 2000 the Working Group met to discuss the traditional draft resolutions of the NAM to the third Committee namely: (i) the right to development; (ii) unilateral coercive measures; and (iii) the enhancement of international co-operation in the field of human rights. The Co-ordinating Bureau also endorsed Botswana as the Chair of this Working Group. Progress was registered in the Third Committee when the NAM’s resolutions on the right to development and the enhancement of international co-operation in the field of human rights were adopted by consensus. The Working Group arranged a meeting of the NAM members with the independent Expert on the Right to Development to engage the vexing issue of "development compact", as outlined in the Third Report of the Independent Expert. This Working Group remains seized with the priority issue of the operationalisation of the right to development, which requires joint partnerships between developed and developing countries, and effective inter-agency co-ordination within the UN system.
There is a growing concern within the NAM that the lack of democratisation of the now International Financial Institutions (IFIs) has a profound impact (negative) on the enjoyment of human rights within the developingcountries. The lack of market access and trade liberalisation and the protectionist policies of developed countries are issues that have to be engaged in future meetings and the indications during UNGA55 were that consensus will not be easy on these issues.
The issue of unilateral coercive measures continues to feature prominently on the human rights agenda of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Working Group through its resolution during UNGA55 once again reiterated the importance of compliance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations by all member States. The extra-territorial coercive measures or sanctions unilaterally imposed on states should be discouraged at all costs, as such measures are normally carries out without the necessary sanctioning by the UN Security Council.
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NON-ALIGNED SECURITY COUNCIL CAUCUS
In accordance with the Methodology of NAM which states the necessity of NAM Members elected to the Security Council to "constantly strive to adopt unified positions¼ " and the need for the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau to attend meetings of the Security Council Caucus, the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau met regularly with the NAM Caucus members. In addition the respective co-ordinators of the NAM Caucus periodically briefed the Coordinating Bureau on the various issues of importance on the agenda of the Council that the Caucus remained seized with.
On 20 March 2001, the NAM Security Council Caucus tabled a resolution in the Security Council on the situation in Palestine. The main elements of the draft resolution were:
· A call for an immediate end to the violence, provocation, and collective punishment
· Unconditional and prompt implementation of the Sharm El-Sheik understandings
After intense negotiations the resolution was voted on by the Council on 27 March but was not adopted as the resolution was vetoed by the United States.
In further enhancing the co-ordination between the NAM Security Council Caucus and the Movement, the members of the Caucus were invited to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Committee on Palestine on 3 May 2001. This was the first time the NAM Security Council Caucus met at Ministerial level outside the context of the United Nations.
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The strengthening of South-South Co-operation is one of the major goals of the Movement. Pursuant to this objective Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in her capacity as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, wrote a letter to Dr. Kamal Karrazi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, congratulating Dr Karrazi on his assumption of the Chairship of the Group of 77 and China (G77). The letter also emphasised the importance of enhancing the solidarity between the G77 and the NAM. Particular reference is also made to the outcome of the South Summit of 2000, the success of which can be measured by the large extent to which the decisions and priorities of the South are reflected in the Millennium Declaration.
On 9 March 2001 the JCC met at Ambassadorial level to discuss the initiative of the President of the General Assembly on improving the working methods of the Assembly. Following this meeting, the Chairs of the JCC, the Ambassadors of South Africa and Iran, met with the President of the Assembly, Ambassador H Holkeri, and conveyed the concerns and views of the JCC. They focussed on the need to revitalise the GA in the context of the strengthening of the UN system, and the need to conduct this process in an open, transparent and participatory manner. They also drew attention to the Assembly resolutions on reform which were yet to be implemented.
The Chair, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma addressed the 8th Summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Khartoum, Sudan on 23 November 2000. The Minister emphasised that solidarity and co-operation amongst NAM countries will strengthen the voice of the developing countries internationally in confronting the challenges affecting NAM in general, and Africa in particular.
On 11 July 2001 President Thabo Mbeki forwarded a congratulatory letter to the new Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Amre Moussa, in which the Chair emphasised that the existing close Afro-Arab co-operation be based on the strategic vision of both NAM and the Arab League to find attainable solutions to theproblems besetting developing countries.
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Message of the Chair to the Group of Eight Industrialised Countries:
At the XII NAM Summit Conference held in Durban in 1998, the Heads of State of Government reiterated the importance of the interaction with the Group of Eight Industrialised Countries (G8). In addition the Summit emphasised the importance of the Chair’s continued efforts to promote 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 Chair, President Thabo Mbeki, conveyed a message to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in his capacity as President of the G8, prior to the G8 Summit held in Genoa, Italy.
The message acknowledged the paradigm shift in the relationship between North and South and subsequently in the common approach to issues of development ininternational fora. The clearest indication yet of the political will in both the North and the South to engage development matters as partners is the adoption of the Millennium Declaration the United Nations Millennium Summit (2000). The message calls for the leaders of both the North and the South to remain focused on the commitments made during that Summit, and to find new and innovative ways of implementing those commitments. In this regard it was noted that the objective of the eradication of poverty, which is exacerbated by the decline in Official Development Assistance levels and unsustainable debt levels, remains paramount for the South.
Furthermore it was reiterated that information and communications technology constituted a principal vehicle for the acceleration of human development. In this regard, support for the ‘dot force’ initiative of the G8, in particular the recent efforts towards the development of a "Genoa Plan of Action" on information technology, was highlighted. The importance of the provision of fair and equal trade opportunities for developing countries at the next Ministerial Round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Doha in November 2000 was also emphasised.
Finally, attention was drawn to the problems of Africa of increased unemployment, widespread poverty, diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, inferior education, and the lack of basic needs.
Meeting with the European Union (EU) Troika:
The Foreign Ministers of the NAM Troika (South Africa, Colombia and Bangladesh), pursuant to the mandate from the XII Summit, held discussions with the Troika of the EU in the context of the 55th Session of the UNGA in September 2000. At the meeting with the EU Troika, led by France, the following issues were discussed:
Meeting with the President of the G8
The Foreign Ministers of the NAM Troika (South Africa, Colombia and Bangladesh), pursuant to the mandate from the XII Summit, also held discussions with the President of the G8, the Foreign Minister of Japan, in the context of the 55th Session of the UNGA in September 2000. At the meeting the following issues were discussed:
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In accordance with the traditional long-standing support of the NAM Members for the Palestinian people, the Chair of the Movement remained actively engaged in pursuing the objective of promoting the rights of the Palestinian people in international fora in their pursuit of an independent State, and the broader objective of peace in the Middle East.
On 18 October 2000 the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau addressed the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the item "Illegal Israeli Actions in the Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory." The Chair, pledging the full support of NAM for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General in the quest for peace, conveyed the Movement’s fervent hope that a resuscitated peace process will culminate in a definitive final settlement towards an independent Palestinian State.
On 12 November 2000, President Thabo Mbeki, as Chairperson of NAM, addressed the Ninth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Doha. President Mbeki called for firm and effective steps to secure the rights of the Palestinian people, and to end the occupation of Arab lands. Confirming the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as a steadfast partner of NAM, the Chair urged decisive action towards the ending of underdevelopment that plagues the developing countries.
Under the agenda item "The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question", the Chair addressed the emergency meeting of the Security Council on 22 November 2000. Stressing that peaceful negotiation is the only means of ensuring durable peace in the region, the Chair urged the parties to take the required steps to cease hostilities, restore calm, and adopt measures to re-establish mutual trust.
At the high-level annual commemorative United Nations meeting on 29 November 2000 entitled "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People", the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau read out a Message from President Mbeki, on behalf of NAM. The Message was also read out at the UN Centres in Vienna and Geneva by the respective South African Ambassadors.
Speaking on behalf of the Movement in the Security Council on 15 March 2001, the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau outlined the devastation to the Palestinian economy since the onset of the crisis in September 2000. The Chair reiterated the view of NAM that it remains the permanent responsibility of the UN to stay fully engaged in the Question of Palestine until a definitive solution is achieved.
Because of the further rapidly deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem, the Arab League called for an open debate in the Council. The Chair of NAM, addressing the Council on 20 August 2001 on behalf of the Movement, called for a protection force for the people of the region, reiterating the NAM view that the question of Palestine is the core of the Middle East conflict.
The Heads of State or Government at the XII Summit in Durban had reaffirmed the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (the Fourth Geneva Convention) to all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem. In preparation for the reconvening of the Conference of High Contracting Parties of the Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem, the Swiss Government has, since August 2001, begun consultations with various delegations in Geneva. The NAM Troika (South Africa, Colombia, and Bangladesh) represents the Movement in this informal consultative group.
In May 2001 the Chair of the NAM, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, responded to a letter from the (former) Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Dr Abdel Meguid, on the matter of the sanctions against Sudan. In her reply the Minister reiterated the view of the Non-Aligned Movement that Sudan has complied with the relevant Security Council Resolutions, thereby qualifying for the complete lifting of sanctions imposed against it.