International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. File picture: Phill Magakoe

Cape Town - External forces are using internal proxies to undermine constitutional order, including by regime change, in most of the countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the South African government believes.

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane issued this warning at the NAM ministerial conference in Algiers on Thursday.

NAM has 120 members. It was formed at the height of the Cold War by countries which did not wish to be aligned with either the Western or the Soviet bloc. Since the end of the Cold War it has struggled to find a role.

“We have recently observed, with serious concern, concerted efforts to undermine democratic governance and practice in most of the members of this movement, by external forces through internal proxies that begin as genuine protests and rapidly degenerate into violent armed protests that seek to undermine constitutional order,” Nkoana-Mashabane told the meeting.

“We should therefore endeavour to stand together and condemn those extra-constitutional activities, including regime change.”

She later said: “We are witnessing in Syria destruction and devastation of one of the members of our movement. We should as a matter of principle call for peaceful resolution of the conflict in that country”.”

Nkoana-Mashabane said NAM had accomplished a lot in the past 50 years, especially on the challenges of decolonisation and the ending of apartheid.

In a changing international environment, it now needed to respond adequately to the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment, peace and security, democracy and good governance and the respect of human rights.

It would do this only by strengthening its solidarity and through south-south co-operation.

The UN should be realigned to serve NAM’s interests and needs, including by reforming the Security Council.

Nkoana-Mashabane noted that next year was the deadline for the world to meet the Millennium Development Goals agreed on in 2000, but that many of the challenges that were meant to be addressed were still prevalent in many NAM countries.

Efforts under way to establish a post-2015 development dispensation were “not an escape valve from the commitments made, including by the developed countries”.

The post-2015 agenda should especially focus on uplifting the least developed and small island developing states.

She also noted with appreciation the recent reconciliation and unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah, the previously rival Palestinian political movements. - Independent Foreign Service

Cape Times