Delegates at the session on ‘The Gap between the North and the South’

Bahrain yesterday said it was a “shame” to allow agricultural issues to upstage the WTO negotiations, while Iran held that the increasing free trade pacts have undermined inter-regional dialogues and called for a regional economic and security council.

“It is really a shame to allow agriculture to undermine the Doha round of WTO negotiations,” member of Bahrain’s House of Representatives Jassim Hussein told the seventh Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade, which will conclude today.

Saying that WTO talks were at a “critical” stage, he warned the free trade agreements (FTAs) could undermine the successful completion of the Doha round. . .

Norway’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Liv Monica Stubholt said there was indeed a gap between North and South but it was essentially relating to poverty, which needed to be addressed. “The issue is whom do we work with to narrow the gap,” she said.

She said there was a need for greater dialogue and co-operation among society, businesses and non-governmental organisations to address the issue.

However, chairman of the Council of American Islamic Relations and Professor of Finance in Florida University Parvez Ahmed said there was a need to redefine poverty as even within the developed countries there were people who suffered deprivation.


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