NGO counter-summit opens in Beirut ahead of WTO
More than 200 anti-globalization NGOs, barred from holding a counter-summit on the fringes of a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Qatar, are holding a "world forum" in Beirut starting Monday, November 12.
The four-day forum will bring together delegates from Arab countries, including the Palestinian territories and Iraq, as well as several dozen non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Europe and North America, and others from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
"Some 170 groups and networks from 45 countries are expected, along with the 70 Lebanese NGOs and associations as well as those from the Palestinian camps in Lebanon," one of the organizers, Ammar Abud, told AFP.
According to Ziad Abdulsamad, executive director of the Arab NGOs, "around 100 foreign visitors are registered, including some 60 Arabs and around 40 personalities from the rest of the world."
Malaysian Martin Khor of the Third World Network and French-Egyptian Samir Amin of the Third World Forum will host the meeting which is due to wrap up on Thursday. Jose Bove, a radical French farmer and anti-globalization activist, and a former Algerian president, Ahmed Ben Bella, were to address the opening session.
Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace will also take part in the meeting, which winds up on the eve of the WTO ministerial conference starting in the Qatari capital on Friday.
"This gathering should help fine-tune a strategy to counter the objectives set out by Western Europe and the United States for Doha to relaunch a new round of trade negotiations," Bove told AFP. — (AFP, Beirut)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)