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Non-Aligned Movement Leaders Meet in Egypt


Dozens of world leaders met at an Egyptian Red Sea resort for the 15th summit of the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement. But the 53-year-old group has lost much of its significance since the end of the Cold War.

It was an exceptionally large turnout of international leaders, with more than 50 heads of state from every continent attending the summit in the Egyptian Red Sea port city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The outgoing head of the organization, Cuban President Raul Castro told the opening session of the summit that a new international financial system is needed to protect developing nations from the global economic crisis.

He went on to say that a global solution must be found to solve the crisis.

He said the movement has reaffirmed its insistence that all nations of the world must be part of the search for effective and just solutions to the present economic crisis. He said in Havana it is believed that developing countries are the most affected by the global economic crisis. He added that 100 million people around the world, especially the third world, suffer from illiteracy, unemployment, hunger, poverty and curable diseases.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is chairing the summit and who will become the next head of the Non-Aligned Movement, sounded pragmatic about addressing problems facing developing nations.

He said the movement must accommodate itself with the existing international reality and be nimble and efficacious in tacking its goals.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon also addressed the summit, urging greater effort to shelter the economies of developing nations and to make the "international system more fair and balanced."

In his address to the summit, Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi recalled the developing stages of the Non-Aligned Movement until the end of the Cold War.

Colonel Gadhafi complained the U.N. Security Council does not fairly represent the nations of the world and insisted this is a threat to world peace.

He also urged world leaders to allow Iran to pursue a peaceful nuclear program, calling it "unfair" to prevent it from enriching uranium. But he added Iran must not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons.

Libya he insisted, had been on the point of developing its own nuclear weapon.

He said that Libya "crossed the Red Line" and came to the point where it was able to build an atomic bomb. But, he added.

"The world had changed, and we asked ourselves against whom we were going to use the bomb? So, what was the point of building it? It was costing us more than it was worth, so we stopped."

Other topics, such as terrorism, global warming and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were also addressed by the Non-Aligned leaders. The two-day summit is to end Thursday.

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