ZIMBABWE – President Mugabe left Zimbabwe last night to attend the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Teheran, Iran.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was accompanied by the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and Government officials.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbabrashe Mumbengegwi is already in Iran where is attending preparatory meetings.
President Mugabe will have a brief stop over in Dubai today before proceeding to Teheran, where he is expected to address the summit.
Representatives of 120 developing nations attended the official opening of the Summit yesterday. The Summit is expected to start on Thursday and end on Saturday.
Analysts say the overwhelming attendance at NAM Teheran proved that the US had failed to isolate Iran from the rest of the world.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi addressed a preparatory meeting yesterday expressing hope for a show of solidarity against Western-imposed sanctions to punish Iran for its civilian nuclear programmes.
Zimbabwe’s pro-people empowerment policies have been met by illegal sanctions imposed by Britain, the United States and their Western allies.
The NAM was among the first international organisations to condemn the sanctions regime against Zimbabwe.
“The non-aligned (movement) must seriously oppose . . . unilateral economic sanctions which have been enacted by certain countries against non-aligned countries,” Mr Salehi said while opening summit yesterday.
Iran has been seeking co-operation with developing countries and took over the NAM presidency from Egypt yesterday.
However, some Western diplomats have sought to downplay the importance of the summit and Iran’s three-year presidency of NAM.
NAM was set up in 1961 to counter super powers’ domination of international relations.
The movement has become a significant discussion platform for developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
About 80 countries are participating in the summit at the level of minister or higher, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr Ramin Mehmanparast, adding 50 countries were sending their heads of government.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Egypt’s recently elected President Mohammad Mursi are expected to attend the meeting.
Tehran has also declared a five-day holiday in the capital to ease traffic pressures and potential security problems.
NAM represents about two-thirds of UN member states.
Among many global topics to be discussed at this summit are the Syrian issue, human rights and nuclear disarmament that have been specified in advance.