Non-Aligned Movement at odds over Yugoslavia

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JAKARTA - Indonesia yesterday urged the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to end its deadlock over the question of Belgrade's continued membership and let the United Nations decide what is the real Yugoslavia.

Two days of talks have been stalled over whether or not the rump state of Yugoslavia was the same country that helped found the movement 31 years ago.

Officials of Indonesia, the host country, spent the early evening with delegates discussing its proposal that the Yugoslavia question be left to the UN General Assembly, which starts next month.

Muslim countries have banded together to try to force Belgrade to re-apply for membership, which some delegates say is as good as expelling it. The issue has been stirred by the need for some Islamic country members to appease domestic fury over the treatment of Muslims in the breakaway Yugoslav republic of Bosnia, delegates said.

'I am not confident but we are working on it (the Indonesian proposal),' said the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Amr Moussa. Foreign ministers are due to wind up their talks before today's arrival of heads of state for the NAM summit from 1-6 September.

'There's never been anything like this in the movement,' complained one Yugoslav delegate, of what he said was the ganging up of Islamic nations against Belgrade. Yugoslavia has been backed by African countries.

Delegates said they supported the rump state partly out of respect for Belgrade's past role in the movement but also because of fears of setting precedents for their own separatist movements. Many delegates were irritated that the past two days had been almost entirely taken up by the issue.

'Further debate of this issue will only reduce the time available to discuss the important issues of the future direction and role of NAM in the post-Cold War world,' the Singapore Foreign Minister, Wong Kang Seng, told the meeting.

CAPE TOWN - Thousands of Muslims gathered in a park in the city yesterday for a mass prayer rally in solidarity with Bosnian Muslims, AFP reports.

Before prayers began, Palestinian and Iranian flags were hoisted and the crowd of about 5,000 people chanted 'Death to America' and 'Allah is Great'. Some youths burnt an effigy of the US President, George Bush, and the American flag. The meeting was held to draw international attention to the plight of Bosnian Muslims in their conflict with Serbs.