Non-Aligned Movement clings to life

September 07, 1992|By New York Times News Service

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The Non-Aligned Movement managed yesterday to pull off what had once been thought unlikely. It survived.

An organization of 108 nations that together account for more than half of the world's population, the movement seemed bound for extinction when the Cold War ended, making non-alignment largely a non-issue.

The weeklong summit meeting -- the first since the collapse of the Soviet Union -- drew scores of heads of state and government to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. At its closing session yesterday, the movement's leaders insisted that the organization was still relevant.

They suggested, in fact, that the movement should consider broadening its role to become, in effect, a United Nations of the developing world, with authority to resolve disputes among its mostly small, mostly impoverished members.

The nations of the 31-year-old Non-Aligned Movement hold roughly two-thirds of the seats in the United Nations but represent less than 10 percent of the world's economic output. Western diplomats said they were generally impressed by the tone of the Jakarta meeting, which took up serious development issues and seemed to be without much of the anti-Western rhetoric of summits past.

The movement announced yesterday that it would create a special panel of economists and other experts to study means of reducing the crushing debt burden faced by many members, and called for negotiations with developed nations on economic cooperation.

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