October 23, 2009 / 3:07 PM / 10 years ago

World trade talks should focus on poor - Gaddafi

STOCKHOLM, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called on Friday for the removal of ‘unjust’ rich-country farm subsidies and more emphasis on helping the poor in world trade talks.

Gaddafi, who chairs the African Union and has ruled Libya for 40 years, also urged the creation of a world economic council, saying the Group of 20 did not go far enough.

"G20 is not enough to deal with the problems that have not only economic but social dimensions," he said in a statement distributed to journalists at a European Union development conference in Stockholm. Gaddafi did not attend in person.

Gaddafi’s statement said the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round of negotiations should remove agricultural subsidies that put poor African farmers at an economic disadvantage.

"We do not understand the grossly unjust trading system that punishes the farmers in Africa," the statement said.

WTO chief Pascal Lamy said on Friday the goal of signing a new global trade deal in 2010 was out of reach unless countries accelerated their negotiations. [nLN330263]

Gaddafi called for new rules for the financial system to protect the world’s poor, and global taxes on luxury consumption to finance development.

Gaddafi, who holds the titles of "King of African Kings" and "the Internationalist Leader", presides over Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves in a country that ranked 52nd out of 179 in the latest U.N. human development index.

In September, he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his coming to power in September 1969.

"We concur that democracy is important for development, however, we disagree that democracy, as expressed in western forms, is suitable," his statement said.

(Reporting by Nick Vinocur, editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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