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G-77 summit seeks new development pledges.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Bolivia's President Evo Morales inaugurated the G-77 summit, which marked the 50th anniversary of the group's founding.

Leaders of developing nations plus China met here to draft a global anti-poverty agenda at a summit that also showcases Latin America's burgeoning relationship with the Asian giant.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Bolivia's President Evo Morales inaugurated the G-77 summit, which marked the 50th anniversary of the group's founding.

It has grown from 77 developing countries in 1964 to 133 member states, encompassing two thirds of the world's countries.

"This summit is not purely commemorative, it will propose new social policies," said Morales, a leader of Latin America's radical left and the group's current president.

The summit closed on Sunday with a document that Bolivia's Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera described as "the first draft of the post Millennium Development Goals," a set of UN goals that are approaching their 2015 expiration date.

Hammered out in previous meetings, the G-77 document sets forth ambitious new commitments to reduce poverty and inequality, foster sustainable development, protect sovereignty over natural resources and promote fair trade and technology transfers.

The world is still well short of fulfilling the original eight Millennium goals, which include a call to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty.

Other goals include guaranteed access to primary education, equality for women and girls, reduction of infant and maternal mortality and diseases like Aids and malaria, and facilitating access to potable water.

China, which is not a G-77 member, is participating in the summit, partly in a nod to its expanding trade ties in Latin America, although President Xi Jinping will not attend.

Beijing will be represented by Chen Zhu, a vice-chairman of China's National People's Congress.

Chen met with Morales ahead of the summit opening, and pledged an $80 million loan to modernise Bolivian airline BOA and purchase four new aircraft, Bolivia said.

With massive purchases of commodities and exports of its manufactured goods to the region, China in recent years has emerged as a main trade partner of many Latin American countries.

Beijing now seeks a new model of cooperation that would marshal large investments for infrastructure projects needed to sustain growth in Latin America.

During a tour of the region in May, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing intends to invest more in Latin America and raise relations to a new level.

Iran's Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri pledged during a separate meeting with Morales a $200 million line of credit for "health, the pharmaceutical industry and agriculture."

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:0LATI
Date:Jun 16, 2014
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