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Rich, poor gap worries world leaders

September 21, 2004 13:34 IST

Ahead of the UN General Assembly annual session, nearly 50 world leaders and the United Nations on Monday raised concerns about the rising gap between rich and the poor, but disagreed with United States on the strategy to fight poverty.

Highlighting the need to expedite the fight against poverty, world leaders called for imposition of global tax on financial transactions and on sale of heavy arms besides creation of an international borrowing facility to raise money for fighting hunger.

In separate high-level meetings that focused on the impact of globalisation and poverty alleviation on the eve of the UNGA session, leaders led by French President Jacques

Chirac and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also asked governments to implement proposals made in a UN report and called for steps to raise $50 billion a year.

Despite the wide support, the suggestions were discarded by the US Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman who represented America in the absence President George W Bush.

Rejecting the idea of a global tax as proposed by the UN report, Veneman said, "Global taxes are inherently undemocratic" and "implementation is impossible."

Participating in the meet, Chirac said in India, China, Brazil and many other countries, millions of people are living in extreme poverty and disgraceful working conditions.

Globalisation found strong support among the leaders but almost everyone said it is not being implemented properly and its full potential is not being harnessed.
Dharam Shourie in United Nations