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Cuba calls for financial system that helps developing nations.

Byline: Daily Star Staff

Summary: Cuba's president called Wednesday for an international financial system that better takes into account developing countries interests, as the global recession captured the spotlight at a summit of non-aligned nations. Raul Castro's remarks at the opening session of the two-day Non-Aligned Movement's meeting.

Sarah El Deeb

Associated Press

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt: Cuba's president called Wednesday for an international financial system that better takes into account developing countries interests, as the global recession captured the spotlight at a summit of non-aligned nations. Raul Castro's remarks at the opening session of the two-day Non-Aligned Movement's meeting in this Red Sea resort were echoed by other leaders and build on earlier talks among officials from the 118-nation grouping of mostly of African, Asian and Latin American nations.

"We demand the establishment of a new international financial and economic structure that relies on the participation of all countries," Castro said, ahead of handing over the movement's presidency to Egypt.

"There must be a new framework that doesn't depend solely on the economic stability and the political decision of only one country," the Cuban leader said, apparently referring to the US.

The new system must give developing countries "preferential treatment," he added.

As the global crisis roiled world markets, erasing trillions in dollars in individual, corporate and government wealth, calls have mounted for greater market regulation and a shift from the use of the dollar as the main foreign reserve currency. Developing nations have argued that their growth and stability is being undercut by a crisis in which they had no part in creating.

"This crisis, the worst in living memory, emanated from the advanced industrial economies, but the developing economies, the members of our movement, have been the hardest hit," said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said "the economic crisis has revealed the need to improve the international financial architecture, so we may see the developing world and emerging powers gain more of a say in that realm." The call by Castro, whose country has been under US sanctions for decades, followed similar demands by the movement's foreign ministers and senior officials who stressed after four days of meetings here that joint action was needed to ward off the global meltdown's impact.

The summit's draft declaration also calls for the group to coordinate with China - attending the summit as an observer - to have their voices heard at international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The movement - born in the 1950s ago as a group of nations allied neither with the US nor the Soviet Union - has lost much of its relevance with the end of the Cold War.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in his address, recognized the "challenge" facing the movement's founding principles, saying the group must work closely with developed nations to address the world's biggest problems, such as terrorism and financial instability.

But some of the group's members - such as India and Saudi Arabia - have gained considerably.

The prime ministers of nuclear powers Pakistan and India, meanwhile, were expected to meet on the summit's sidelines.

The two met in Russia last month for the first time since the Mumbai terror attacks last year but made little headway in defusing tension in their relations.

India blamed Pakistan-trained militants for the attacks, which killed 166 people, and has accused Pakistan of dragging its feet in punishing those suspected of planning the three-day siege.

Pakistan has rejected the charges and announced Sunday the trial of five men accused in the attacks will likely start next week.

The two countries' foreign secretaries met for 90 minutes on the sidelines of the summit meeting Tuesday night, apparently to prepare for Wednesday's meeting of the two prime ministers, according to a diplomat familiar with the meeting. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:0DEVE
Date:Jul 16, 2009
Words:664
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