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Sri Lanks President addresses the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe called on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) tobecome a dynamic bloc of the Global South capable of making an effective impact in shaping the evolving new order while addressing the 19th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the NAM today (19th January), in Kampala, Uganda.

President Wickremesinghe is participating at the 19th NAM Summit at the invitation of President Yoweri Museveni, of the Republic of Uganda. The Summit is convened under the theme “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence” and was preceded by the Ministerial Meeting led by the Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, and the Senior Officials meeting led by Foreign Secretary Aruni Wejewardane.

President Wickremesinghe welcomed that the 19th Summit has given the highest priority to the crisis in Gaza and  the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine to self- determination and the realisation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.

Highlighting contemporary global challenges President Wickremesinghe noted the need for a strong and united NAM that plays a vital role as geo-strategic rivalries in political, economic, technological and military terms becomes more pronounced among former and new contenders for major power status. He proposed that NAM, while upholding the Bandung Principles in the evolving multipolar world, needs to oppose the spread of big power rivalry including the coercion of uncommitted states and to build a multipolar world which incorporates the political, economic, social and climate change mitigation aspirations of the Global South.

He further noted that the NAM membership today is no longer a grouping of weak states and that it must recognise that as a result of the rapid progress and economic advancement of some of Asian, African and Latin American states a majority of the 10 leading economies of 2050 will belong to the NAM.

On the sidelines of the Kampala Summit, President Wickremesinghe is scheduled to hold bilateral discussions with the President of South Africa, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Prime Minister of Nepal, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Prime Minister of Tanzania and Vice President of Benin.

The NAM, which currently consists of 123 member-states is based on the Bandung Principles and aims to advance the interests of developing countries.  Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was a founding member of the Movement and held the Chairmanship from 1976 to 1979. Sri Lanka hosted the 5th Summit of the Heads of State and Government in 1976.

President Wickremesinghe is accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry, Secretary to the President E.M.S.B. Ekanayake, Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane, Senior Advisor to the President on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Kanya V. Kananathan and senior officials of the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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