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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has departed for Venezuela to attend the 17th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) en route to New York, where he will address the UN General Assembly. In a brief address to reporters before his departure on Friday, Rouhani highlighted the importance of the NAM meeting as the second largest gathering of heads of states, hoping for a fruitful gathering this year. The 17th NAM summit started in Margarita Island, Venezuela, on September 15, and will wrap up on Thursday. The Iranian president is scheduled to deliver a speech at the summit later on Friday. He will then hand over NAM’s rotating presidency to his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro for three years. President Rouhani (C) talks to reporters before departing for the Americas, Tehran, September 16, 2016.
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Rouhani said he will also pay a short visit to Cuba where he will meet with his counterpart Raul Castro as well as Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution. NAM, an international organization with 120 member states and 21 observer countries, represents nearly two-thirds of the UN members. It is considered as not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. During his Friday remarks, Rouhani also referred to his planned speech at the 71st annual session of the UN General Assembly, saying he will present Iran's viewpoints about various issues. The president expressed concern about the situation in the region as well as other parts of the world, and said all countries should persevere toward the establishment of peace and security. Separate meetings with intellectuals and think tanks are also on the president’s agenda. His appearance at the event this year will be his fourth since he took office in August 2013. In September 2013, President Rouhani presented a set of proposals for a World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) which was overwhelmingly approved by the General Assembly. --- --- ...