Developing Countries Call for Political Will to Save Doha Round

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WASHINGTON, Apr. 23 (AFP) a" Finance ministers from developing countries called Friday for renewed political commitment by rich and poor nations to salvage critical global trade liberalization talks that are currently foundering.

Ministers in the Group of 24 also renewed their insistence that developing countries be given a stronger voice in the leadership of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and said measures were needed to ensure that wealthy nations honor their aid commitments.

The ministers held their twice-yearly meeting here ahead of weekend sessions of the policymaking bodies of the World Bank and the IMF.

The Group of 24 in a statement voiced concern that World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations launched in late 2001 in the Qatari capital Doha to remove barriers to world trade were now "at risk."

The Doha round was crafted specifically to harness trade as a means of improving living standards in the worldas most impoverished nations.

"Many critical issues have yet to be agreed upon, which underscores the need to increase the political commitment on the part of both developed and developing countries to a successful and ambitious outcome," the ministers said.

In Geneva Friday, gloomy WTO negotiators acknowledged that a key deadline had moved out of reach, with top officials exchanging blame for the impasse. …