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Mugabe Takes Over, Challenges Nonaligned Nations

September 02, 1986|From Reuters

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Prime Minister Robert Mugabe assumed the chairmanship of the Nonaligned Movement on Monday and called on Third World countries to break the shackles of apartheid and poverty.

Taking over from Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on the 25th anniversary of the founding of the 101-member group, Mugabe said he is beginning his three-year term conscious of his duty to all the group's diverse members and "the suffering people of southern Africa."

Denouncing apartheid and calling Pretoria a threat to regional and international peace and security, he urged all members to enact selective sanctions against South Africa pending the adoption of comprehensive mandatory sanctions by the United Nations.

'Eradicate the Evil System'

"What is needed now is action--action to eradicate the evil system of apartheid, action to resist Pretoria's aggression against the neighboring independent states and action to stop South Africa's illegal occupation of Namibia (South-West Africa)."

Mugabe proposed that the meeting consider sending a team of nonaligned foreign ministers "to visit capitals of key industrial countries to canvass for the adoption and implementation of mandatory sanctions."

Harare was chosen to host the weeklong summit, attended by nearly 50 heads of state or government, to focus attention on the racial policies of South Africa, whose border lies just 450 miles south of here.

Urges Nuclear Moratorium

Earlier, Gandhi urged all nuclear nations to follow the Soviet Union in declaring a moratorium on nuclear tests and said he hoped a U.S.-Soviet summit later this year would help eliminate nuclear weapons.

"A great responsibility rests on the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union. We hope they will meet before the end of the year and take specific measures to reduce, and eventually eliminate, nuclear weapons," Gandhi told the conference in his final address as leader of the movement.

"The world can survive only by giving up confrontation and by eradicating fear, hate and disparity," he added.

Castro Voices Concern

Cuban President Fidel Castro, another former head of the movement, also voiced concern over the arms race and urged the organization to help avert a disastrous nuclear war.

"If we unite, it will be impossible for a decision to be taken at the United Nations or in the international community in general without our being taken into account," he told the movement's eighth summit.

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