WTO Summit a Good Beginning, Says Vatican Aide

Archbishop Martin Analyzes Conclusions of Qatar Conference

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The World Trade Organization summit that ended this week in Doha, Qatar, is a first step toward more-just international trade relations, says a Vatican aide.

The 142 countries attending the WTO meeting unanimously approved the launching of a new round of international trade negotiations, known as the «Doha Development Agenda.»

The Qatar summit will be remembered for several reasons, Vatican Radio said Thursday: the signing of such an important document at a difficult time in the world; the commitment to allow poorer countries access to medicines; and China´s entry into the WTO.

It «is a positive sign that rich and poor countries have decided to collaborate together in questions relating to trade,» said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who headed the Vatican delegation at the WTO conference.

To those who criticize the agreement for being too generic, he responded: «No one wanted to condition the conclusions before beginning the negotiations. The formulations are expressly vague, in order to allow a round of free negotiations on the part of all.»

Archbishop Martin also underlined the positive fact that «all the African countries gave their total support to the text.»

«It is a very, very difficult process, but in every paragraph there is always a reference to the situation of poor countries,» he added.

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