Qatar to host WTO meeting on November 9-13
The World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold its next meeting of ministers in the Gulf state of Qatar from November 9 until 13, a spokesman said here Thursday.
The dates for the conference, last held in December 1999 in Seattle, US, won approval by a consensus of members at a meeting of the WTO's executive body, WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said.
It is to be held in Doha ahead of the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which begins on November 16, and to avoid clashing with a summit on food taking place in Rome November 5-9.
The planned hosting of the WTO ministerial meeting in Qatar has already proved controversial as the Gulf state has strict laws on public assembly.
But WTO director general Mike Moore said, during a visit to Japan late January, that protestors will be free to peacefully oppose globalization during the meeting.
Qatari authorities have also vowed to permit law-abiding protests.
The last ministerial meeting of the now 140-member WTO, in Seattle descended into a series of pitched battles between riot police and anti-globalization protestors.
Ministers also failed there to agree an agenda for a new round of trade liberalization talks.
Chile had originally also expressed an interest in offering Santiago as a host for the meeting, but gave up on the idea because of a number of international meets already taking place in the city and elections this year. – (AFP, Geneva)
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