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south-north development monitor SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4443, Friday, 28 May 1999


contents

Trade: WTO looking for a hoodiny ? (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Africa: Summit endorses free trade, fails to resolve conflicts (IPS, Nairobi)

Environment: Oil company warned of merger consequences (IPS, Washington)

Development: Annan warns rich nations against neglecting poor (IPS, New York)

Yugoslavia: War dealt UN a death blow, says Cuban leader (IPS, Havana)

United States: Air strikes may violate War Powers Act (IPS, New York)

United States: Inattention to Africa deplored (IPS, Washington)

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Some excerpts from selected articles:

Trade: WTO looking for a hoodiny ?

Geneva, 26 May (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- After another three hours of repetitious discussions, a resumed meeting of the World Trade Organization's General Council still remained Thursday evening at an impasse over the selection of a Director-General - with supporters of the US-backed Michael Moore of New Zealand, and the supporters of Thailand's Supachai Panitchpakdi standing firm on their positions.

Comments on both sides may have been briefer, but the rhetoric of the debate remained the same. And while some new voices were heard, expressing support for the "chairman's proposal", it was not clear whether they were really new support or those who had indicated support end-April, now voicing support from the floor.

One day or the other, over the next several days, or may be some weeks and months later, a Director-General would be named, though it looks as if the WTO would need more than a Hoodiny (the magician who pulled so many tricks on stage) -- the term used Wednesday by Zimbabwe to describe the Tanzanian Chairman, who may probably be regretting his ever having taken on the job, which is proving to be a thankless task.

The process has now reached such a pass that, irrespective of the outcome, the usefulness, prestige and functions of the future Director-General (whose office under the WTO agreement has no powers or initiative beyond what the membership instructs from time to time) have now been dealt some serious blows.

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