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Friday, 11 February, 2000, 13:12 GMT
Anti-global protests in Bangkok

protest Protestors gather at the Unctad meeting


The first major global trade summit since violence erupted at economic talks in Seattle last year starts in Bangkok on Saturday.

Protestors have already made their presence felt in Thailand for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

Greenpeace has accused the United Nations of condoning the export of toxic waste from rich countries to the developing world.


We are very close to the poor
Reubens Ricupero, Unctad secretary-general
"We are here to expose Unctad's 'greenwash', and alert people of Asia to prevent their countries from becoming the dumping ground for the West," said Greenpeace International toxics campaigner Marcelo Furtado.

Building bridges

Trade officials have said that far from dumping on poor countries, they want to build bridges between the rich and the poor.

Unctad secretary-general Reubens Ricupero said he wanted the week-long meeting to be the start of a reconciliation process after the violence on the streets of Seattle during the World Trade Organisation meeting.

Ricupero Reubens Ricupero wants the poor to feel less marginalised
Mr Ricupero told a news conference: "We are an organisation that is very close to the poor, the deprived and the marginalised."

Waste Protest

Greenpeace is unconvinced.

On Tuesday, the environmentalists dumped a container of waste incinerated by a Japanese company on the tourist island of Phuket in front of the Japanese embassy here.

The container bore the message: "Return to sender."

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior has been docked in Bangkok port for a week as part of a Asian campaign against toxic waste.

Big Business

The leading advocates of globalisation are also in Thailand.

The heads of the WTO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are there.

The United States has sent a relatively-junior official.

Some have said that underlines the fact that Unctad has little power because it does not lend money and is not a forum in which countries make binding commitments to remove trade barriers.

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See also:
11 Feb 00 |  Business
World trade focus shifts to UN
25 Dec 99 |  Business
Body blow for free trade

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