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WB chief joins call for lifting food trade restriction
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World Bank President Robert Zoellick joined the call on Wednesday for the lifting of food trade restrictions in face of soaring food prices.

"We need an international call to remove export bans and restrictions," Zoellick told reporters on the sidelines of a world summit on the food crisis hosted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

"These controls encourage hoarding, drive up prices and hurt the poorest people around the world who are struggling to feed themselves," he added.

One day earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also urged some countries to immediately lift restrictions on food exports.

"Some countries have taken action by limiting exports or by imposing price controls ... They only distort markets and force prices even higher," Ban said in an opening address to the summit, which kicked off Tuesday.

The three-day meeting of world leaders was the first global response to the recent cycle of food prices hike, aimed at winning donor pledges for urgent aid as short-term solutions and also to generate longer term strategies to safeguard food production.

Echoing Ban earlier remarks, Zoellick called for "safety net support, school feeding, food for work, maternal and child programs, conditional cash transfers and budget support" for the poorest countries which were hit hardest by the food price hike.

(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2008)

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