ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari will leave for Iran on August 29 (tomorrow) to attend the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), sources said on Monday.

The President will address the Summit and will also hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Summit that would be formally inaugurated by the Foreign Minister of Iran today (Tuesday).

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Monday left for Tehran to attend the inaugural session. President Zardari is likely to meet Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and others and would exchange views on matters of common interest. Diplomatic sources said  efforts were still under way to line up President Zardari’s meetings with various world leaders . Sources said that departure of FM, who was earlier scheduled to accompany the President, was also aimed at finalising bilateral meeting of the President with other visiting foreign dignitaries, besides attending the inaugural session. 

The 120-member NAM of the developing countries that had come into being during cold war era would deliberate on various issues during the Summit facing the world. Some sources said Iran would try to rally NAM support against the US and EU economic sanctions. Interestingly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, despite advice from the US and its western to cancel his plans would be one of the participants.

According to the Iranian media, 27 presidents, eight prime ministers, nine vice-presidents, six special envoys, and around 25 foreign ministers have till to date confirmed their participation in the summit. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Indian PMManmohan Singh, Chairman of the Presidium of the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly (parliament) Kim Yong-nam, Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan, Lebanese President Michel Sulaiman, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are some of important international figures, who are scheduled to attend the summit.