President of the U.N. General Assembly Abdulla Shahid has stated that the greatest challenge faced by the Non-Aligned Movement today is to stay relevant.
Shahid, who spent two days at the Belgrade summit marking the Movement’s 60th anniversary, said in the evening of Oct. 12 that the world is facing many trials and that it is, therefore, essential for the Movement “to operate as usual.”
According to him, today’s world is confronted with threats of increasing magnitude and number, none of which existed at the time the Movement or the U.N. were founded, examples of which are the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and the global energy crisis.
Asked to comment on the claims that the Non-Aligned are increasingly gravitating toward Moscow, Shahid said that Russia has an observer status within the organization. “Any country inclined to fulfill the principles of the Movement is welcome to join. It would be good for as many countries to join as possible and [thus] contribute to the Movement’s noble goals,” Shahid replied.
The First Conference of Non-Aligned Countries was held in Belgrade on Sept. 1, 1961. Founded by the then-leaders of Yugoslavia, India, Egypt, Indonesia and Ghana, the Movement now has 120 member- and 18 observer-countries, and is the largest global association of states after the United Nations.