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 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 10:21 GMT
Security tight for Davos forum
Armed police in Davos
Swiss authorities are taking no chances with security
The World Economic Forum is opening in the Swiss ski resort of Davos amid unprecedented security.

Swiss authorities say they will shoot down any aircraft making unauthorised flights over the annual meeting because of fears that it could be a target for terrorists.

Thousands of soldiers are also being deployed to protect the 2,000 international politicians and business leaders.

The string of corporate scandals revealed in 2002 has contributed to the serious undermining of trust

World Economic Forum guidebook

The six-day conference will focus on corporate scandals and the loss of trust in the business community, but the BBC's Jonathan Charles says the impact of a possible war in Iraq will also figure highly.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell is due to address the forum on Sunday and will deliver a "major speech" on US foreign policy, the AFP news agency reported.

Our correspondent says Mr Powell will tell delegates that he understands their worries over Iraq, but global security must be the priority.

His speech will come on the eve of a key report on Iraqi disarmament to the UN Security Council by weapons inspectors.

Business leaders

Other political figures due to attend include Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil - Vicente Fox of Mexico and Johannes Rau of Germany.

King Abdullah of Jordan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will also be there.

Among the 1,300 business leaders will be Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Douglas Daft of Coca Cola, Nobuyuki Idei of Sony and Carly Fiorina of Hewlett-Packard.

Protesters at Zurich airport
Protesters have their own greeting for world leaders

Organisers say Iraqi opposition groups are also expected to hold a meeting in Davos on the last day of the forum.

This year's meeting has the theme "building trust".

President of the Forum, Klaus Schwab, said there had been a loss of trust in the business community following high-profile accounting scandals in major corporations.

The forum has been held in Davos for three decades, although last year it moved to New York as a show of solidarity after the 11 September attacks.

It has increasingly drawn demonstrations from anti-globalisation protesters.

Despite heavy security, the authorities have decided to allow a demonstration in Davos itself although it will be kept away from the meeting.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Jonathan Charles in Davos
"The delegates here represent some of the world's biggest companies"
  The BBC's Tanya Beckett
"The forum this year is modestly entitled building trust"
See also:

22 Jan 03 | Business
21 Jan 03 | Business
21 Jan 03 | Business
05 Feb 02 | Business
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