- Title: CUBA: Venezuela's President Chavez: I'll be at UN summit on horseback if needed
- Date: 16th September 2006
- Summary: (BN11) HAVANA, CUBA (SEPTEMBER 14, 2006) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOREIGN MINISTER OF LEBANON FAUZI SALLOUKH SAYING: "We expect the Non-Aligned Movement to support us - politically, morally and financially to be able to reconstruct Lebanon again." CAMERAMAN (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOREIGN MINISTER OF LEBANON FAUZI SALLOUKH SAYING: "And there will be only one standard, not so many standards, if you are referring to the nuclear file of Iran, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful goals."
- Embargoed: 1st October 2006 13:00
- Location: Cuba
- Country: Cuba
- Reuters ID: LVA5P2WBNQUM0P78KZZ6O7KYV1M6
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he could travel alone to the United Nations General Assembly in New York -- on horseback if necessary -- after slamming Washington for denying visas for his security and medical team.
"They denied visas for my security and my doctors. They don't want my advance party in New York," Chavez said on Thursday (September 14) when arriving in communist Cuba for a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement of developing nations.
After equating his ally Fidel Castro with Don Quixote, the famous Spanish gentleman knight of Miguel de Cervantes' tales, he said; "I'm going even if I have to go alone ... with Fidel like Quixote, with Quixote on horseback."
Chavez constantly lambasts the United States and has tried to rally countries to an anti-U.S. front to promote socialism around the would. Washington accuses Venezuela of using its oil wealth to destabilize democracy in the region.
Venezuela's special envoy for the United Nations Security Council, Ray Chaderton Matos, said that the organization needed to be refreshed to avoid it becoming a private club for superpowers. "The United Nations cannot be the stamping ground for a superpower," Chaderton said. He added,"That denies the democratic concept that was the origin of the United Nations charter. So it is necessary to refresh, reinvigorate and democratize the United Nations before the concept of a global dictatorship."
The United States said that Venezuela had been late in applying for visas.
World leaders are gathering at the U.N. General Assembly from September 19-29.
At the summit of Non- Aligned countries Cuba is hoping to breathe new life into the organisation seen by some as a relic of the Cold War.
All eyes are on the summit for clues to the health of ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro who is recuperating from intestinal surgery. Officials have said Castro will participate in some way in the summit.
There have been strong words ahead the the summit for the United States for its role as global policeman, and Israel for bombing Lebanon.
As foreign ministers met for a second day, Lebanese Foreign Minister Fauzi Salloukh appealed for assistance for his battered nation following the 34-day war with Israel.
"We expect the Non-Aligned Movement to support us - politically, morally and financially to be able to reconstruct Lebanon again," said Salloukh.
Salloukh also voiced support for Iran's right to pursue a peaceful nuclear energy programme.
"And there will be only one standard, not so many standards, if you are referring to the nuclear file of Iran, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful goals," said Salloukh.
The G15 nations are comprised of Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
Raul Castro, hosting the event as Cuba's head of state while Fidel recovers from intestinal surgery, took part in the meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Raul Castro urged the G15 nations to pull together.
"Our countries have no other opportunity than to join together and to take joint action to overcome common obstacles they are facing," said Castro.
The G15 was set up to foster cooperation and provide input for other international groups, such as the World Trade Organization and the Group of Seven rich industrialized nations.
The countries do not see eye to eye on all trade, development and finance issues, but they say the leaders want to step up cooperation and speak with a single voice at other international gatherings.
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