The leaders of eight Muslim developing nations with a combined population of 800 million vowed in Cairo Sunday to take up the challenges of globalization and join forces to face the developed states of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Two of those leaders, host Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikha Hasina Wajed, called for a fair distribution of the wealth generated by globalization and trade development at the D-8 summit.
"A truly globalizes world has to be based on give and take and a better understanding of the mutuality of interests" between developed countries and developing ones, said the outgoing president of the grouping, Sheikha Hasina.
"We want a win-win outcome of the fruits of globalization," she said at the Cairo gathering.
Egypt's Economy Minister Yousef Boutros Ghali meanwhile said the D-8 (D for development) had decided to "negotiate as a bloc with developed countries during the next meeting of World Trade Organization economy ministers."
The meeting is due to take place in Qatar in November.
Boutros Ghali told reporters on the sidelines of the summit that the D-8 economy ministers would meet before the WTO gathering to forge a common position.
Spanning Africa, Asia and Europe, the group comprises Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
Mubarak, whose country is hosting the summit of the group created in 1997, warned that globalization could marginalize developing countries, and called on the international community to address that issue.
He urged D-8 countries to "focus on three challenges: poverty, trade and financial problems ... in an attempt to strike a new balance in the world order and include developing countries in it".
Mubarak later announced the summit's Cairo Declaration which pledged to double the volume of trade among the eight over the next five years from 3.5 percent of their total foreign trade to seven percent.
The Egyptian president said the leaders discussed the effects of globalization on their economies and said the declaration addressed "ways to face up to the economic challenges that confront us."
To achieve that goal, the eight countries decided to make a study, financed by the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank, of ways to establish an international trade and marketing company based in Cairo, Mubarak said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, speaking at the opening of the one-day summit, accused Israel of hampering economic development in the Middle East region.
"Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians has caused many deaths and injuries, but also generated very difficult economic conditions", he said.
"Insecurity in the Middle East has a very negative impact on our economies," the Iranian minister added.
Also attending the gathering were Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia and Ahmet Necdet Sezer of Turkey as well as Pakistani military leader Pervez Musharraf.
Malaysia was represented by its deputy prime minister, Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi.
All participants spoke at the opening of the summit to promote trade, economic and technological cooperation and denounced the negative effects of globalization on their economies – CAIRO (AFP)
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