Subject: NST: Rich countries urged to do more to help poor nations - JRH

Also: Non-Aligned Movement: a factfile

New Straits Times (Malaysia)

Fbruary 23, 2003, Sunday

Rich countries urged to do more to help poor nations

RICH nations have been asked to cut subsidies in their agricultural sector, write off poor nations' debt and increase developmental aid to eradicate poverty in the Third World.

Timor Leste Senior Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos Horta said most Western nations still failed to heed the United Nations' call to share a small portion of their wealth with the least developed countries.

He said influential groupings of small and developing nations such as the Non-Aligned Movement could encourage rich countries to do more to alleviate poverty.

"A combination of increasing development assistance, reducing subsidies to the Western agricultural sector and writing off debts of poor countries would help tremendously in alleviating poverty."

He spoke after the opening of the ministerial meeting by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday.

Horta said the UN had for many years called on rich nations to contribute 0.7 per cent of their national wealth to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations.

"But after 30 years, only some Nordic countries - Norway, Sweden and Denmark - and the Netherlands met the target."

The United States, Germany, France, Britain and Italy were singled out as major economic powers that failed to breach the 0.7 per cent mark. Their contribution ranged from 0.2 to 0.4 per cent.

(RM1,400 billion) worth of subsidies a year to their agricultural sector, and asked Western countries to lift protections that came through the subsidies.

"This makes agriculture uncompetitive in poor and developing countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia."

He said Timor Leste, itself a poor nation which split from Indonesia in 1999, might seek foreign loans to build its economy.

"For now, we are lucky to get grants, rather than loans, from a few countries. If we borrow now, it could be mishandled or mismanaged."

He said that despite having a strong banking and financial system and the ability to implement social projects credibly, the country, overall, had a weak administration.

Agence France Presse

February 23, 2003 Sunday

Non-Aligned Movement: a factfile


The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which holds its 13th summit in the Malaysian capital on February 24-25, groups 114 member states. The membership will go up to 116 with the admission of East Timor and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the Kuala Lumpur meeting.

Originally conceived as an alternative to the Western and Eastern blocs during the Cold War, it now aims to represent the political and economic interests of developing countries.

The movement had its origins in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955, which brought together leaders of 29 states, mostly former colonies, to discuss common concerns and to develop joint policies in international relations.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, along with Indonesia's Soekarno and Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, led the meeting, which examined the problems of resisting the pressures of the major powers, maintaining independence and opposing colonialism and neo-colonialism.

The first Conference of Non-Aligned Heads of State or Government, at which 25 countries were represented, was convened at Belgrade in September 1961, largely through the initiative of Yugoslavian President Tito.

Subsequent summits have been held in: Cairo 1964, Lusaka 1970, Algiers 1973, Colombo 1976, Havana 1979, New Delhi 1983, Harare 1986, Belgrade 1989, Jakarta 1992, Cartagena de Indias 1995, Durban 1998.

debt crisis and international trade, investment flows and disarmament have been high on the movement's agenda.

The last few summits also saw issues such as transnational crime, international drug trafficking and HIV/AIDS being addressed.

The Kuala Lumpur summit is expected to be dominated by debate on a possible United States-led war on Iraq, which is a member of the movement.

MEMBER STATES: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Rep of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine (PLO), Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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