Non-aligned nations slam U.S.

North Korea takes aim at the United States at a meeting of the non-aligned nations in Havana on Saturday.

The leaders of more than 100 of the world's non-aligned nations vowed Saturday to stand up to the United States, a country they said posed "a grave threat to world peace and security."

Meeting in Havana, the Non-aligned Movement also rejected U.S. President George W. Bush's use of the term "axis of evil," supported Iran's right to nuclear technology for peaceful use and criticized the United States for riding roughshod over the sovereignty of smaller nations.

And the non-aligned nations blamed the United States and the West for many of the world's problems, including global poverty and the lack of world peace.

The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of 118 nations that includes such U.S. critics as Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela and Algeria. But the group also includes Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Chile, Peru and Colombia, countries that are seen as friendly to the United States.

It was founded in 1961 as an alternative to both Moscow and Washington. The group moved to Havana for its meeting this year, from Malaysia, which has led the group for the past three years.

Cuba's Raul Castro hosted the meeting on behalf of his brother Fidel, who is still recovering from surgery. Fidel, 80, met several key leaders in his private hospital room, but did not attend the plenary sessions.

Vocal critic

One of the most vocal critics of the United States was Kim Yong-nam, the head of North Korea's parliament, who blasted the United States for its unilateral actions against smaller countries.

"The United States is attempting to deprive other countries of even their legitimate right to peaceful nuclear activities," he said, adding that the United States was "abusing the human rights issue" to interfere in the internal affairs of foreign countries.

North Korea also took aim at the United States for destroying the world international order. The desire for peace by the group's members, he said,is "confronted with grave challenges owing to the high-handed acts and unilateralism of the superpower, which denies countries and nations the independent choice of development."

The resulting imbalance in global politics constitutes "grave threats to world peace and security," he said.

United Nations Secretary General Koffi Annan attended the meeting, but the United States declined an invitation.