Non-aligned Nations to Confirm Palestinian Refugee Rights

The final statement of the Non-Aligned Movement summit will confirm the rights of Palestinian refugees, President Mahmoud Abbas’ diplomatic adviser said Friday.

The 120-member Non-Aligned Movement is expected to issue a 680-clause statement on Friday.

Majdi al-Khaldi said the closing statement would affirm the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as outlined in UN resolution 194 and international law.

The statement will also recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and urge all countries which have not yet recognized Palestinian statehood to do so, al-Khaldi told Ma’an,

A special statement will be released by the 120-nation movement calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, he added.

President Mahmoud Abbas led a delegation representing Palestine at the summit, which is being held in Tehran. Abbas also met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the first time on Thursday.

Relations between Iran and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which Abbas heads, have been strained since the 1980s, when late President Yasser Arafat supported Iraq in its war against Iran. Iran’s support for Abbas’ rivals Hamas further estranged Tehran and the PLO.

No official statement has been released since Abbas’ meeting with Ahmadinejad, but sources close to the president said the talks were positive.

Meanwhile, there were few signs diplomatic ties between Egypt and Iran would be restored at the summit. Egypt-Iran relations broke down after the Iranian revolution over Egypt’s support for the overthrown Shah and over its peace agreement with Israel.

In Tehran, Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi urged Non-Aligned Movement members to back Syrians trying to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is Iran’s closest Arab ally.

Mursi said solidarity with the Syrian people "against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty" and a strategic necessity, prompting the Syrian delegation to leave the hall.

The NAM summit’s final declaration is set to express deep concern about the violence in Syria and support for efforts by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to broker a resolution to the conflict, a delegate at the meeting told Reuters.

(Ma’an)

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