The world's nations avowing nonalignment today issued an appeal to the superpowers to abandon the search for dominance through nuclear weaponry and to divert their resources to preventing a global economic collapse.
Speaking for more than half the world's population, delegates to the seventh nonaligned summit conference coupled their usual anti-imperialist rhetoric and political condemnations of developed western nations, particularly the United States, with proposals for creating a new international order to redress imbalances between the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak.
While hard-line delegates succeeded in toughening some sections of a 54-page draft communique on global and regional political issues--sprinkling the document with additional condemnatory phrases aimed at the United States--on balance much of the radical imprint that has characterized previous nonaligned summits was excised.
When asked in a press conference whether the strident language of some sections of the political declaration may make economic negotiations with western nations difficult, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who chaired the summit meeting, said, "We have tried not to be openly critical or use a strident type of voice." She denied that the United States had become a "natural adversary" of the nonaligned--a play on Cuban President Fidel Castro's attempts to identify the Soviet Union as the movement's "natural ally"--and said the nonaligned group has good relations with Washington.
U.S. diplomatic sources called the declarations a "mixed bag" in terms of U.S. interests but said they demonstrated that moderate elements in the movement had considerable success in restoring "some balance" to the tone of the documents. A U.S. diplomat said steps taken by the movement in the next year to implement some of the proposed economic reforms would become a barometer of whether the reshaping of the movement will be lasting.
In a three-part joint declaration, kings, presidents, prime ministers, emirs and other heads of state and government warned of a drift toward nuclear conflagration and called for an immediate international convention that would prohibit further production and deployment of nuclear weapons.
The material and human resources released by such a ban should be used to promote the economic well-being of the developing nations, according to the declaration hammered out after six days of marathon and occasionally fractious debate in open session and behind closed doors of committee rooms.
A consensus on the summit's declarations was reached this afternoon after the conference was held over for an unscheduled sixth day and after a night of frenetic behind-the-scenes negotiating over a few contentious issues.
The pro-Soviet stamp that outgoing conference chairman Castro sought to put on the 1979 summit conference in Havana was conspicuously missing from this year's political declarations, even if Gandhi did not entirely succeed in maintaining the movement at an equal distance from the two superpowers.
Formidably organized moderate forces succeeded in steering the delegates into adopting an 83-page economic declaration that some western diplomats conceded is a sober, reasoned approach that takes into account the economic realities of the world today.
The delegates called for convening a conference within the United Nations to launch global negotiations early next year with the aim of creating a new international economic order and restructuring the world monetary system.
It urged a restructuring of the $540 billion collective debt burden of the developing nations, substantial expansion of World Bank and International Monetary Fund lending programs, replenishment of the IMF trust fund by the sale of gold reserves, increased market access in developed countries for exports from developing countries and urgent increases in food assistance programs and energy development.
"Never before have the economic fortunes of the developed and developing nations been so closely linked together. Yet many of the rich nations of the world are turning in the midst of this common crisis to the catastrophic bilateralism of the 1920s and 1930s rather than to enlightened multilateralism. They still refuse to recognize that the economic survival of the North is simply not possible without the economic survival of the South," the conference declared.
The summit also urged more economic cooperation among developing countries, including increased trade and transfer of technology but did not endorse a proposal for the creation of a Third World bank, apparently because of dwindling surpluses of oil-exporting nonaligned states stemming from declining oil prices and production.
The wide-ranging political declaration, besides voicing the aspirations of the countries that founded the Nonaligned Movement after anticolonial liberation struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, focused the movement's perspective on regional conflicts around the world, but the consensus was not always reached harmoniously.
Disputes over how to deal with the Iranian-Iraqi war, for example, resulted in that 2 1/2-year-old conflict being left out of the declaration altogether. Gandhi talked into the early morning hours with delegates from both warring nations and afterward issued a compromise statement. She said that as chairwoman of the conference, she would continue consultations in an effort to achieve a cessation of hostilities and the opening of peace negotations.
Until nearly 4 a.m., the summit was also deadlocked on the question of whether the next summit should be held in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, as favored by a majority of members but strenuously opposed by the Iranian delegation. Baghdad had been named to host this conference, but the venue was moved to New Delhi as a result of the gulf conflict. A compromise was reached by referring the issue to committee for a decision no later than 1985.
In contrast to previous nonaligned declarations, there were only about a dozen explicit critical references to the United States in the political document released today, most of them dealing with the U.S. role in the Middle East.
There were frequent references to unspecified "imperialist interference" in Central America--indirect references to U.S. involvement there--but in sections on Nicaragua and El Salvador, the declaration had a restrained tone that merely called on the United States to adopt a "constructive position" in favor of peace.
In a section calling for the creation of a "zone of peace" in the Indian Ocean, the United States and the Soviet Union were both urged to negotiate a simultaneous reduction of their military presence there, and the conference called for the transfer of Diego Garcia, where the United States maintains a rapid deployment staging base, to the nearby island nation of Mauritius.
On the question of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the delegates reiterated a call made in a nonaligned foreign ministers' meeting here in 1981 for a political settlement on the basis of the withdrawal of "foreign troops," without mentioning the Soviet Union by name.
The most bitter denunciations of U.S. foreign policy were reserved for the Middle East declarations, in which U.S. military and economic aid to Israel was blamed for encouraging Israel's "habitually aggressive and expansionist policies."