Wednesday 24 June 2009

Poor nations want greater role for U.N. in world economy

U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto says that rich and poor countries are closer in finalizing the agenda that will be discussed at the U.N. financial summit to reform the global financial system, despite skepticism from Western nations.

Rich and poor nations are closer to striking a deal on proposals for reforming the global financial system, Miguel D'Escoto, president of the U.N. General Assembly, said on Tuesday (June 23).

"The only thing that remains, but that can only take place once the conference has begun, is the approval of the document by the General Committee," said D'Escoto on the eve of the global summit.

A three-day U.N. General Assembly meeting on the financial crisis and its impacts on the developing world, originally scheduled for earlier this month, was postponed to June 24-26 when it became clear negotiators had no agreement on draft proposals.

Although the meeting has been billed as a summit, no Western leaders are expected to attend, and only 14 presidents and prime ministers will show up. The other 112 countries taking part will send lower-level delegations.

The expected top speakers are the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Bolivian President Evo Morales, both well known leftists, and outspoken critics of U.S. policies.

The run-up to the conference has highlighted differences between developing nations who want to give the 192 - nation General Assembly much more say in tackling the financial crisis, while major powers such as the Group of 20, want to keep control in their own hands.

"I am satisfied with the way it's going," said D'Escoto, a Roman Catholic priest and former Nicaraguan foreign minister.

He rejected criticism of the summit and the way it had been organized. "What is important is what will be agreed, what is the content of the agreement," he said.

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