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Briefing by Special Secretary (Pol & Intl. Orgns) on Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to XV NAM Summit in Egypt

July 09, 2009

Shri Vivek Katju, Special Secretary (Pol & Intl. Orgns): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will be participating in the XV NAM Summit which is being held at Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, on July 15-16, 2009. He will address the Summit during the general debate. A number of leaders will call on Prime Minister on the margins of the Summit. External Affairs Minister Shri S.M. Krishna, National Security Advisor Shri M.K Narayanan, and senior officials will form part of Prime Minister's delegation to the Summit.

The themes of the XV Summit are: International Solidarity for Peace and Development, and the Current Economic & Financial Crisis. In accordance with NAM practice, the Summit would focus in comprehensive manner on global regional and sub-regional issues as well as issues relating to development and human rights and on social issues to.

The Summit will be preceded by a meeting on 13-14 July of NAM Foreign Ministers to prepare for the Summit. External Affairs Minister will participate in this meeting. A meeting of the NAM Committee on Palestine will be held on 13 July. EAM will make a statement at the meeting.

In parallel with NAM Summit, a NAM first Ladies' Summit will be held at the initiative of Egypt. Smt. Gurusharan Kaur will be participating in this meeting. The theme of the meeting is Women in Crisis Management – Perspectives and Challenges, Best Practices and Lessons Learned. The meeting will be anchored by the Suzane Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement and will focus on the role of women in the context of the global economic and food, health and humanitarian crises. Heads of UN Agencies: FAO, WFP, WHO, and ITU are expected to make brief statements during the two separate sessions of the first Ladies' Summit. Smt. Gurusharan Kaur will make a statement during this meeting.

The Non–Aligned Movement stands for principles which India has always espoused and pursued in international affairs: sovereign equality of states; respect for territorial integrity, a peaceful, equitable and just world order; and the progress of developing countries through socio-economic development.

India's commitment to NAM is firm and abiding. As in the past, India will continue to play active role in the Movement.

Question: When is Prime Minister leaving?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): The Prime Minister will be leaving Delhi on the 13th (July). He will be going to France where is the Chief Guest of Honour at the French National Day on 14th of July. From France on the same day, he will be going to Sharm-al-Sheikh.

Question: When will be the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan meeting?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): The Foreign Secretaries as was mentioned earlier will be meeting in Sharm-al-Sheikh. I do not have the date. The Prime Minister will be arriving on the 14th. It is expected that Foreign Secretary will be traveling with him. So it will be on or after the 14th.

Question:On the sidelines of the Summit, Prime Minister of Pakistan and Dr. Manmohan Singh are likely to meet. Can you give us details of when that meeting is and what is going to be discussed?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): Yes, there will be a meeting as the Prime Minister indicated earlier. After the Foreign Secretaries meet they will be reporting to the Prime Ministers. I do not have details of when that meeting is but it will at Sharm al-Sheikh on the margins of the Summit.

Question:Mr. Katju, Kashmir is on the boil after Shopian and Baramullah while it has spread to Srinagar. Against this backdrop, Pakistan is certain to take up this issue during the NAM Summit. How are we going to tackle it? Secondly, do you see Pakistan's involvement in increasing violence in Kashmir?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): I have nothing to say on this, on our relations with Pakistan. This is a briefing on NAM.

Question:Are they going to raise the issue?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):I wonder if you have seen the text of the statement.

Question:I just wanted to ask if there are any other bilateral meetings that have been fixed up with other NAM leaders.
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): There will be bilateral meetings, as I had mentioned in my opening remarks. These are being fixed up. Prime Minister will meet leaders on the margins of the Summit. They are in the process. If they are in the process, how do I give details?

Question:Is the meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan fixed or is it conditional to how the talks between the Foreign Secretaries go?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): It is. I mentioned to you, the Prime Minister had earlier mentioned that the two Foreign Secretaries will be reporting to the Prime Minister. That implies that they will be meeting there.

Question:…(Inaudible)…
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): The precise logistics of the meeting are being worked out. But they will meet.

Question:Mr. Katju, about NAM itself, in the past couple of years in fact many NAM countries have talked about the relevance of a Non-Aligned Movement in what is essentially being seen as a nonpolar or a unipolar world. Is there going to be any discussion during this NAM summit on perhaps revamping NAM, taking in other members, doing different groupings? Some had talked about economic groupings on the basis of the South-South dialogue. Is there something like that?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): I think you have raised a very important question. NAM has a continuing relevance. NAM is now 48 years old. The first Summit was held in 1961 in Yugoslavia. This is the 15th Summit. NAM has stood for certain principles. Those principles were applied at the time when NAM was established and they were applied successfully. NAM's role in decolonization, NAM's role against apartheid, are on the record. This role was successful and effective. NAM seeks to apply the same principles to the challenges that the international community faces today. The same principle will we believe lead the international community to successfully address these challenges.

Question:How important is this Summit for us?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): I think this NAM meeting takes place at a very crucial juncture in international affairs. The challenges that we face are before us. The challenge flowing from the international economic and global crisis, the other challenges of socioeconomic nature. These challenges even though may not have originated in the developing world, are of direct bearing and have the greatest impact on developing countries. So, we do believe that this is an important meeting, and important Summit. The voice of NAM will make a contribution to the resolution of the issues that the international community faces at this juncture.

Question:Will the India-Pakistan Joint Mechanism against Terrorism come under review at this Summit?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):I have nothing to say on Pakistan. NAM, I will be very happy to speak on.

Question:Why is terrorism not on the NAM agenda?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):Terrorism is very much on the NAM agenda. Question: When you mentioned the agenda, I think you did not mention terrorism.

Special Secretary (Pol & IO):I mentioned that NAM will address global issues. Terrorism is very much a global issue and it is in the front rank and the very first rank of global issues which confront the international community.

Question:NAM has yet to reach a consensus on the definition of terrorism…
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):We had, as you know, in 1996 introduced a Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism. India has very strongly advocated that that Convention should be adopted in the UN. This was introduced in the UN. During this meeting too we will urge that the Convention should be adopted. We believe that if the Convention is adopted, it will make significant contribution to the international fight against global terrorism.

Question:Is India working towards a meeting with President of Iran?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):I have mentioned to you that there will be meetings of the Prime Minister with the world leaders on the margins of the Summit. I will not go into individual meetings.

Question:Will India raise the issue of UNSC reforms during the NAM Summit also?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):India will. India has always mentioned that the United Nations needs reform. I do believe that NAM too believes and holds that the United Nations needs reform to bring it in line with contemporary reality. This call or this demand for UN reform was in the NAM Ministerial outcome document too.

Question:Is there any effort on behalf of India to develop consensus on the shape of the UNSC reform?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):India has been in close consultation with international partners on this issue.

Question:You mentioned that you would like NAM to adopt the Convention against Terrorism. But there have been some differences on the definition. How many of them have been ironed out?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO):Let me clarify. What I mentioned was that we had introduced this Comprehensive Convention and that was at the United Nations. The Convention has to be adopted at the United Nations. If it is adopted in the United Nations, it becomes a Convention of universal applicability. We would like NAM countries to support that Convention. But this is an ongoing process. The place for action on the Convention is not NAM but the United Nations. Very recently there was a meeting of the ad hoc Committee on the Convention at the UN. So, that is a clarification you must have that the NAM Summit is not the forum where the Convention would be discussed.

Question:Today you had a meeting with the German envoy on disarmament. Could you share with us what transpired in that meeting?
Special Secretary (Pol & IO): I had a very pleasant lunch with my German colleague.

Thank you.

(Concluded)

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