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China: June conference 'major action' by UN to combat financial crisis
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The conference to be convened by the United Nations General Assembly "will be a major action taken by the UN System in response to the financial crisis," the Chinese UN envoy said on Monday.

Zhang Yesui, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement as he was taking the floor at a special high-level meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods Institutes, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

"The Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, to be held on June 1-3, will be a major action taken by the UN System in response to the financial crisis," Zhang said, referring to a high-level session organized by the 192-member UN General Assembly.

"During this conference, we need to listen to the voices of the Member States, especially the developing countries, send a positive signal to the international community on our unity in tackling the financial crisis, and make contributions to reducing the negative impact of the financial crisis on the most vulnerable groups and achieving the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)," he said. "We also hope to hear the views of the developing countries on reform of the international financial architecture."

Earlier on Monday, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon told the high-level meeting that "we have an important opportunity to make progress (in the fight against the global financial crisis) this June, when the General Assembly convenes the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development."

Meanwhile, Ban asked the participants of the Monday meeting "to generate ideas that will help the (June) Conference to succeed."

On a host of consensus reached at the G20 Summit in London three weeks ago, Zhang said, "The summit put the issue of development high on its agenda. It reaffirmed the historic commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goals."

"The summit decided to make resources available for the poorest countries through voluntary bilateral contributions to the World Bank's Vulnerability Framework, and provide 6 billion U.S. dollars concessional finance to the poorest countries by using resources from sales of IMF (the International Monetary Fund) gold and surplus income," he said.

"These decisions are important and timely. We hope the agencies concerned will make earnest efforts to implement them," he said.

Meanwhile, he said, "Trade is one of the most important engines of the world economic recovery."

"The financial crisis should not provide any legitimacy for trade protectionism," he said. "On the contrary, in tackling the financial crisis, it is all the more important to consider how to resist trade protectionism."

The World Economic Situation and Prospect for 2009 issued by the United Nations points out that "international coordination is not only about concerted fiscal spending, but also about avoiding emerging forms of indirect protectionism in the design of fiscal packages," the ambassador noted.

"This merits great attention from policy makers," he said. "The Doha Round of negotiations concerns the global trade liberalization process. We need to push for early, comprehensive and balanced outcomes from the negotiations."

"Efforts should also be intensified to promote the 'aid for trade' initiative of the WTO to help the developing countries strengthen their capacity building," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency April 28, 2009)

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