18th NAM Summit kicks off, Bangladesh PM joins

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BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct 25, 2019 (BSS) – The 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM) kicked off here this morning drawing heads of state and
government of different countries including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina at Azerbaijan capital of Baku.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev inaugurated the two-day summit with a
call to uphold the spirit of the forum and strengthen cooperation among its
member states of NAM, a forum of 120 developing countries.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the opening ceremony of the
summit at Baku Congress Centre alongwith other heads of state and government
and representatives of the member nations.

On her arrival at the centre at 10 am, Sheikh Hasina was received by the
Azerbaijan president.

The other world leaders who joined the summit included Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Malaysian Prime Minister
Dr Mahathir Mohammed, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Afghan President
Ashraf Ghani, Djibouti President Ismail Omar, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-
Addo, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Chairman of the
Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic, Nepalese Prime
Minister KP Sharma Oli, Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Indian Vice-President
M. Venkaiah Naidu, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj.

The Venezuelan President delivered the opening remarks at the inaugural
session as the NAM’s current chairperson while his address was followed by
the installation of the Azerbaijan President as the forum’s new chair.

The principles of NAM were set at Indonesian city of Bandung in 1955 and
six years later the forum emerged formally in 1961 in Belgrade of Yugoslavia
with initiatives of the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and
Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito.

After his election unopposed Aliyev pledged to build the NAM on the basis
of Bandung Principles.

President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-
Bande also spoke at the opening session of the summit.

The hosts of the summit Azerbaijan, located at the crossroads of Eastern
Europe and Western Asia and populated by 10 million people, is a multi-ethnic
and multi-religious country with 96 percent of its citizens being Muslims.

At the outset of the opening session of the summit, a minute’s silence was
observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of the NAM leaders who
passed away since the 17th NAM Summit held in Venezuela in 2016.

The theme of general debate of the 18th NAM is “Upholding the Bandung
Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of
contemporary world”.

Sheikh Hasina will join Working Luncheon for heads of the delegation at
the Luncheon Hall of the centre and the Plenary Session.

In the evening, the prime minister will attend the official reception to
be hosted by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev at Heydar Aliyev Center.

On the sidelines of the NAM Summit, the prime minister will call on her
Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir Mohammed this afternoon.

The NAM is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally
aligned with or against any major power bloc. It has 17 observer countries
and 10 observer organisations.

The forum is the second biggest organization after the UN. Today,
approximately 55 percent of the world’s population lives in the NAM member-
states.

These countries possess more than 75 percent of the world’s oil reserves
and more than 50 percent of gas reserves, as well as the biggest human and
natural resources.

Drawing on the principles agreed at the Bandung Conference Venezuela’s
Margarita Island hosted the 17th NAM Summit in 2016.

NAM was founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the
independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and
other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War.

Its actions were a key factor in the decolonisation process, which later
led to the attainment of freedom and independence by many countries and
people and to the founding of tens of new sovereign states.

Throughout its history, the NAM has played a fundamental role in the
preservation of world peace and security.

The chairmanship of NAM will be built on three main priorities, among
others increasing the effectiveness of the Movement to further enhance the
reputation of the organisation on the global stage.

Other priorities are the promotion of the Bandung principles and the
strengthening of the unity within the Movement.