Egypt on Non-Aligned Movement

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 19, 2022, 13:26

The Non-Aligned Movement was an organisation formed during the Cold War which sought to remain independent or neutral and didn't support either of United Nations or the Soviet Union. The purpose of this organisation was listed as to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries" against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism and other kinds of foreign subjugation.

The principal founders of the Non-Aligned Movement were Gamal Abdel Nasser from Egypt, Joseph Broz Tito from Yugoslavia and Jawaharlal Nehru from India.

Non-Aligned Movement - Egypt During the Cold War

The Non-aligned Movement was founded to thaw out the Cold-War confrontations. Egypt had intended to remain neutral, but the Socialist leanings of President Nasser made people think that Egypt was more inclined toward the Soviet Union.

Moreover, two events confused the role of Egypt even more.

  1. The Construction of the Aswan Dam
  2. The Nationalisation of the Suez Canal

Non-Aligned Movement - Overview

Aswan Dam was needed by Egypt because the flood on the Nile River causes a lot of disasters annually. The cost that was going to occur was very high. Nasser had no option other than to reach out to any of the two superpowers, i.e., the USA and the USSR. The set of terms and conditions given by both the countries in return was titled. Nasser had to choose one. He found Soviet terms more palatable. Furthermore, the Soviet Union was also against the formation of Israel and so was Nasser.

The Nationalisation of the Suez Canal was to be done to raise funds for the construction of the Aswan Dam. The reason for this was that the President saw the British and French control of the Suez Canal as the last vestige of colonialism in Egypt and he wanted to end it anyhow.

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He offered a few proposals to buy controlling rights of the Suez Canal generously but those were turned down by British and France. Nasser decided to forcibly seize it. This was the Suez Canal crisis from 1955-to 1956. Egypt was invaded by the British, France and Israel together to take back the Suez Canal.

During this crisis, The Soviet Union supplied the required arms and ammunition to Egypt. USSR also favoured Egypt in the United Nations on this matter. Soviet nuclear threat and American economic sanctions made these three Nations withdraw from Egypt entirely in 1956. This is how Egypt earns huge respect in the Arab world.

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Legacy of Egypt on Non-Aligned Movement

Egypt has played a vital and major role in the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement and it still is playing a major role in spreading the word of this Movement. It is the influence of President Nasser that the Arab world has adopted the Non-Aligned Movement and it helped the Arabs to take a neutral approach to deal with the Western and the Eastern bloc.

After 1955, Egypt essentially tried to catch the attraction of newly liberated colonies of Africa and Asia.

Ever since the Non-Aligned Movement in Egypt, the country has been one of the constant supportive members of it. Even after getting criticised for inclining more towards USSR, Egypt has followed the ideology of NAM.

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FAQs on Egypt on Non-Aligned Movement

Q.1 How many countries are there in the Non-Aligned Movement?

Non-Aligned Movement is a forum of 120 developing world states wherein 18 States are observers.

Q.2 When was the Non-Aligned Movement established?

The Non-Aligned Movement started on 1 September 1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Q.3 In the context of the Non-Aligned Movement, is there a permanent guest status for countries at conferences?

In the context of the Non-Aligned Movement, there is no permanent guest status for countries but at times non-member countries are represented as guests.

Q.4 When and where was the second conference of the Non-Aligned Movement hosted?

The second conference of the Non-Aligned Movement was hosted by Cairo in October 1964.