Leaders Gather For Non-Aligned Summit

World leaders gathered Wednesday at an Egyptian Red Sea resort town for a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, a 118-nation group that was born during the Cold War but is now struggling to stay relevant.

The Sharm el-Sheik summit is the 15th since the movement was created more than five decades ago.

The prime ministers of nuclear powers Pakistan and India were expected to meet on the sidelines of the two-day summit in what would be highlight of the conference. The two leaders met in Russia last month for the first time since the Mumbai terror attacks last year, but they made little headway in defusing the tension in their relations.

India blamed Pakistan-trained militants for the attacks, which killed 166 people.

Foreign ministers and senior officials from the movement, who began their meetings here four days ago, said the global financial crisis will adversely affect their developing nations the most and that joint action was needed to ward off its impact.

The summit's draft declaration calls for the group to coordinate with China - attending the summit as an observer - to have their voices heard in meetings of international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Cuban President Raul Castro, whose country has been a key member of the movement, was expected to address the summit's opening session later Wednesday. He was scheduled to hand the movement's presidency over to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose country will head the group for the next three years.

The Non-Aligned Movement has lost much of its relevance when the Cold War ended nearly two decades ago. Made up mostly of African, Asian and Latin American nations, the group has since become primarily an international speaking forum for developing nations.

This program aired on July 15, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.


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