The 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit begins on Thursday, minus the fire and brimstone expected by its critics, as the preceding meetings of officials and Ministers managed to resolve all the three controversial issues that could have made it contentious, said government sources involved in the negotiations.

“There were three outstanding issues, and then there was great interest on account of the location of the summit. There were expectations that developments in Syria, the foremost of the three, could overshadow the deliberations. But there is a difference between fact and fiction. When the NAM preparatory meetings began in New York, it was quite clear that the Iran Summit wouldn’t be the occasion to resolve the Syria violence, nor would it provide the platform for statements of an extreme nature,” said the sources.

On Syria, there was a low-key exchange between a representative of a country and the Syrians, but it ended at that. The issue of formulating a position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan saw the excising of a couple of sentences to the satisfaction of the NAM members. Similarly, the coup in Paraguay saw a divergence of opinion, but a similar effort saw all sides concurring on the final paragraph.

The sources asserted that NAM continued to be relevant in the post-Cold War period, though the approach had changed. Today, instead of agonising if NAM was a natural ally of the then Soviet Union, it was now focused on pressing global issues such as poverty eradication and global governance. Also, the addition of two more members since the preceding summit in Egypt showed that nations still thought NAM was a useful forum.

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