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Without Chavez,Ahmedinejad,NAM is missing its ‘bad boys’

Without the presence of Mohammad Ahmadinejad,the towering personality of Fidel Castro or the biting wit of Hugo Chavez,the 15th NAM Summit meet lacks the glamour element.

Without the presence of 21st century enfant terrible of the Middle East Mohammad Ahmadinejad,the towering personality of Fidel Castro or the biting wit of Venezuelian President Hugo Chavez,the 15th Non-Aligned Movement Summit meet lacks the glamour element.

The media room has journalists wondering which world leader to chase for bites. Ultimately the general consensus is that it can only be India-Pakistan talks,whether they happen or not,that can really be the only ‘story’.

Even the once flamboyant Muammar Gaddafi seems like an aged lion dressed in orange robes and purple turban. All he could say was “We are the world” referring to the over 100 heads of government of mostly developing nations who have gathered here in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Gaddafi called for reforms of the United Nations,which he said should better,represent developing countries’ interests. “We are facing new challenges and we need to reconsider,re-evaluate the international situation in order for the world to benefit from this huge gathering,” he said.

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Iranian President still smarting from the election fiasco gave this summit a miss. Iran is a member of NAM and the chair of the coming summit in 2012. However,Egypt’s relations with Iran are lukewarm as Egypt opposes what it considers Iran’s interference in the Arab affairs. So when the Egyptian President extended the invitation to Ahmadinejad,it was accepted initially but later it was declined and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki came instead.

But he too suddenly left Egypt for Iran Tuesday afternoon after the 15th ministerial meeting of the NAM leading to speculation that Ahmadinejad might suddenly turn up on Thursday. But it did not happen.

Hugo Chavez is made for television. Even Obama couldn’t resist his charm or else as cynics say,his huge oil deposits. Though Chavez did not attend the meet,Venezuela’ rebel status got quite a fillip at the ministerial level meet.


The foreign ministers included its support of the constitutional government of President Hugo Chavez and its support to the people of Venezuela to elect their own form of government and determine the economic,social and political system without foreign intervention.

The NAM also added their concern for the growing intelligence activity against Venezuela and Cuba and condemned the attempts and recent conspiracies aimed at assassination plots against President Hugo Chavez.

From the time of the 7th summit in New Delhi,when Fidel Castro gave Prime Minister Indira Gandhi a bear hug and called her his sister,Castro has been the hero for the Indian media.


The octogenarian who is battling poor health was the towering figure of many a NAM summit meet. He swept into power more than 50 years ago and though his detractors are many his admirers in Cuba and rest of the world are a legion to themselves.

Watching him thump his hand in the air in his military fatigues while calling the US names gladdened many a liberal heart in the sixties and seventies.

In today’s world,not many can have that effect on crowds. Most world leaders are slaves to teleprompter or Ivy League speech writers. Or worse,bureaucrats from the stable.

First published on: 16-07-2009 at 12:08:01 pm
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