South Summit and NAM Ministerial Meeting

The Group of 77 (G77) and the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at the U.N. have been busy preparing for both the South Summit and the XIII Ministerial Meeting of NAM, respectively. The important South Summit is being convened from 10 to 14 April 2000 in Havana, Cuba, where the Cuban government has already made extensive logistical preparations. Both this preparation, as well as the serious preliminary work done by the G77 on the two documents for the Summit, namely the Havana Declaration and the Programme of Action, promise to make this a milestone conference for the countries of the South and their cooperation in the field of economic and social development.

Prior to the South Summit, the XIII Ministerial Meeting of NAM was held in Cartagena, Colombia from 8 to 9 April 2000. This gathering at the ministerial level is the last such meeting of the non-aligned countries before the convening of the NAM Summit later this year. Palestine is a full member of both the G77 and NAM and is being represented at the South Summit by a delegation headed by President Yasser Arafat, while Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the PLO, lead the Palestinian delegation to the NAM Ministerial Meeting.

The documents of both meetings contain traditionally clear and strong positions in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people and their national goals, especially the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. The G77 Programme of Action has a paragraph regarding foreign occupation, which reaffirms, inter alia, the right to self-determination of all peoples and the principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources. The NAM Final Document also contains a reaffirmation of the right of peoples to self-determination and a condemnation of foreign occupation, as well as containing an extensive section pertaining specifically to Palestine and the Middle East. The paragraphs regarding Palestine and the Middle East peace process, include, inter alia, unequivocal support for the right of the Palestinian people to an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital; reiteration of the need to fully respect and adhere to the September 2000 deadline set for the achievement of a final settlement; and consideration of the U.N. Millennium Summit as a natural deadline for the participation of Palestine as a Member State.