Officials from the world's nonaligned states have been arriving in South Africa for a summit expected to address nuclear arms, poverty and wars.
The agenda for next week's summit, the 12th since the Non-Aligned Movement was founded in 1961, includes such issues as reforming the United Nations and increasing cooperation between developing countries.But these are likely to be overshadowed by more pressing concerns over troubled emerging markets, fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan, the recent bomb attacks against U.S. embassies in East Africa and the retaliatory missile strikes by the United States.
"There is no issue that is sacrosanct," said South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, who will serve as the summit secretary-general.
The meetings get under way with gatherings of officials at the weekend, followed by talks between foreign ministers. Heads of state from 51 countries will attend the summit proper Sept. 2 and 3.
A tight security net has been thrown around the conference centre in Durban on the Indian Ocean coast.
Among the leaders expected to attend are Afghanistan's deposed president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.
The United States last week launched missile strikes on suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan after two devastating bomb attacks against U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania Aug. 7.
"The whole issue of international terrorism has become a big focus in the wake of recent events," Pahad said.
Democratic Republic of the Congo President Laurent Kabila, whose leadership is currently under threat from a Tutsi-led revolt, is scheduled to attend the summit.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is from Ghana, is expected to arrive next week and has asked Southern African Development Community states to meet to discuss the situation in Kabila's troubled country.
Pahad said a main topic for the summit would be recent volatility on financial markets that has ravaged many economies in the developing world.