The Summit for the Non-Aligned Movement got underway in Cuba on Monday but without its host. President Fidel Castro is still recovering after emergency surgery on his intestines and it is unclear whether he will attend the six day conference at all. Some 50 heads of state are present at the fourteenth summit for Third World nations which was set up in 1961 to try and avoid alignment with either the United States or the Soviet Union.
The conference coincides with the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks; a coincidence considered by many as a sign of animosity towards the United States. No reference was made to the fateful day but terrorism in all its forms was condemned by those attending. Conference Spokesman Abelardo Moreno Fernandez said the fight against terrorism cannot be dictated by dates. He believes it must be dictated by attitudes, policies, behaviour and actions.
Cuba regularly accuses the United States of terrorism and George W. Bush of leading a fascist administration. The communist country opened the summit pledging its support to Iran’s nuclear programme and Lebanon’s defiance of aggression in the Middle East.