Helping the Poor Nations Will Add to Peace, Vatican Says

Appeal to World Trade Organization Conference

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DOHA, Qatar, NOV. 13, 2001 ( The Vatican hopes the latest World Trade Organization summit will be remembered as the «development conference.»

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, head of the Vatican delegation in Doha, Qatar, spoke Monday, shortly before an international agreement was reached on the sale of medicines.

«The integration of the poorer economies into an equitable world trade system is in the interest of all,» the archbishop told the WTO´s ministerial conference.

«The enhanced development of the poorer countries is a contribution to global progress, international security and peace,» added the head of the Vatican delegation.

«In a globalized economy no one can be insensitive to the situation of those who are lingering on its margins,» Archbishop Martin stressed. «Inclusiveness is both a moral and an economic value.»

The Vatican aide reminded his audience that the object of development must be the human person, beyond market interests.

He said the world needs the WTO to take advantage of the maximum possibilities offered by globalization.

But, while «liberalization can bring great benefits» to developing nations, «all too often it has remained a merely theoretical affirmation,» the archbishop said.

He also addressed some specific questions arising at Doha, such as respect for intellectual property rights, which was on the verge of making inaccessible critical treatments for millions of people.

Archbishop Martin appealed to the WTO to give a «clear message that there is nothing in the rules of the international trading system that should prevent governments from addressing urgent public health needs.»

His request met with a positive response. After days of stagnation, an agreement was reached on intellectual property and its relation to public health.

Countries faced with epidemics will be able to decide on their own what constitutes «an emergency situation» and will have the right to grant obligatory licenses, being free to determine the reasons for the granting of such licenses.

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