Israel has barred foreign ministers from five countries from entering the country for a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting set to be held in Ramallah on Sunday, ahead of the main NAM conference in Iran late this month.
Numerous foreign ministers from NAM member states were to gather in Ramallah for a pre-summit conference. But Israel decided not to permit entry by officials from countries with which it does not have diplomatic relations. The foreign ministers of Cuba, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Algeria, who were planning to cross from Jordan with their delegations, were thus barred from entering the country to attend the meet, a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Jerusalem said.
NAM members with which Israel does have relations are cleared to enter the country, the ministry said. These include Egypt, India, Columbia, South Africa, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 12 countries are all members of NAM’s Committee on Palestine.
Haaretz reported Sunday that the entire Ramallah meet might be canceled because of Israel’s refusal to let all would-be participants enter the country. A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Jerusalem could not confirm that report.
Founded in 1961 in Belgrade, the NAM is a group of nations that do not consider themselves part of any major international power bloc. Members include almost all African and Arab states as well as many from South East Asia and Latin America.
The NAM’s 16th summit is scheduled to take place in the central Iranian city of Isfahan on August 30-31. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to attend the meet, as “Palestine” is an official NAM member. Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi is reportedly planning to skip the event, though this has not been officially confirmed.
Israeli ambassadors abroad are reportedly lobbying their host countries to boycott the summit, where Iran will reportedly be seeking to advance a resolution asserting its rights, and those of others, to a nuclear program and to uranium enrichment.