The Coordinating Bureau of the nonaligned nations' movement today pushed aside demands by radical Arab states that fought until early dawn to humiliate Egypt for signing the peace treaty with Israel.
Iraq, Syria, Algeria and Libya, which sought to suspend Egypt from the movement, now will take their battle to the 88-nation Havana summit in September in a considerably weakened position.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister A.C.S. Hameed, chairman of the bureau's meeting, called it "the most crucial" session "that the movement has faced in its lifetime."
The session's final declaration said the proposal to suspend Egypt was "beyond the competence" of the bureau left the proposal for the Havana summit."
Rather than criticize Egypt directly, the bureau condemned the United States for "aggravating the situation in the Middle East" and cited Israel's "expansionist, imperial policy."
In a rare display of unity, African states from Marxist Angola to conservative Zaire banded together to oppose Egypt's suspension.This position is expected to be affirmed at the July meeting of the Organization of African Unity in Monrovia, Liberia.
Although the stated reason for the African nations' support was that Egypt, as a member of the OAU, could not be suspended from the nonaligned movement with African backing, it is widely believed that the African states feel they have been used by the Arabs.
The other main battle of the 25-nation Coordinating Bureau's ministerial meeting also ended inconclusively as the ministers shelved until the Havana summit the issue of who should represent Cambodia.
Cambodia's seat was held by representatives of the ousted Pol Pot government for this conference. Former foreign minister Ieng Sary flew into Colombo last week from "fighting in the jungle," he said, and he told a weekend news conference he would be returning to continue the guerrilla fight.
Leng Sary said Pol Pot controls one-fourth of Cambodia, the Vietnamese-backed government of Heng Samrin another one-fourth, and the remaining half was guerrilla battleground. Western sources, however, have said the Pol Pot forces have lost all but a small portion of mountainous territory in the southwest corner of the country.