The Tehran Conference of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will start its six-day work on Sunday. The first two days will bring together the subject matter experts from member countries to put final touches on the resolutions to be adopted by the conference. On 28-29 August, the foreign ministers will meet to examine the proposals and on 30-31 August, the XVI Summit of Non-Aligned Movement will be held.
NAM was formally created by 25 countries at the Belgrade Conference in September 1961. The creation of the organization was preceded by the Bandung (Indonesia) Conference of 1955 and the tripartite meetings of Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru and Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito in 1956. NAM was a product of the Cold War, offering an alternative to the Third World countries which were being forced to take side with either the Western or the Eastern camps.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Eastern block nearly forty years after NAM’s establishment made its original charter obsolete and to this day the organization has been struggling to define its mission or offer a rationale for its continued existence in the absence of two camps it was created to be independent of. Radical actors within NAM, such as Venezuela and the Islamic Republic, have been pushing the organization to become an anti-Western body, but without much success.
Meanwhile, the Iranian officials reported today that 51 leaders will attend the Summit. The number, if accurate, falls within the norm of the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit in 2009 and the Havana Summit in 2006. The government, however, has so far released only the name of 14 countries whose leaders will attend: Egypt, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Bolivia.