The final ministerial session of the Conference on International Economic Co-operation opened in Paris, on Monday (30 May).
The final ministerial session of the Conference on International Economic Co-operation opened in Paris, on Monday (30 May). The 27-nation conference -- better known as the North-South economic dialogue -- began with a promise from United States Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, for new moves towards a fairer international economic system.
The ministerial meeting is the climax of more than two years of crisis-ridden negotiations aimed at bridging the gap between the rich and the poor nations. Ministers went into the meeting admitting that there was still a great deal of work to be done if the conference was to be a success.
SYNOPSIS: The three-day ministerial meeting at the International Conference Centre in Paris is aimed at bringing the North-South dialogue to a conclusion. The rich industrialised group of countries at the conference are being asked to present a new concessionary package of aid and trade measures to help the world's developing nations.
British Foreign Secretary, Dr. David Owen, not only represents his country at the conference but also the European Economic Community. Some African nations have already received special concessions from the EEC on trade. But Saudi Arabia is among the Arab countries who are championing the cause for new agreements for all Third World countries. The rich industrialised countries have agreed in principle to a new and fairer distribution of wealth, but have yet to accept the proposals of developing countries on how to achieve that. African countries in particular say their resources have been exploited for too long.
Mr. Vance assured the delegates that his country's promises on the creation of a new economic order would be translated into deeds. He said President Jimmy Carter would go to the American Congress and seek a substantial increase in the volume of American aid programmes over the coming five years. He added the United States would join an international fund for agricultural development. But it is yet to be seen if the new American promises will be an acceptable solution for the world's developing nations.