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Asia-Pacific
Developing states hold own summit
Group of eight mostly Muslim states discuss food production and oil prices.
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2008 05:17 GMT
Abdullah said increasing food production was a leading priority [AFP]

While G8 leaders are meeting in Japan, an alternative meeting of leaders of eight predominantly Muslim countries is taking place in Kuala Lumpur.

The Group of Eight Islamic Developing Countries, or D8, opened its meeting on Tuesday to tackle issues in the developing world.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the prime minister of host Malaysia, opened the conference with calls for world food production to be increased and finding a permanent solution to skyrocketing oil prices.

Saying the two problems have become "grave threats" to the world economy, Abdullah said "bold measures" must be taken to "guarantee the well-being of our economies and our peoples' future".

"This meeting must come out with a clear message on the need to boost food production in the world. This is especially needed in the context of additional difficulties brought about by climate change and natural disasters," he said.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's president, echoed those remarks, saying the challenge of food and energy security had surpassed the challenge of globalisation.

The D8 agenda also involves liberalising trade, easing travel restrictions and working towards the development of sustainable energy polices.

But Abdullah stressed the importance of food production, even at the expense of one of Malaysia's own large industries, biofuel production.

"The widespread conversion of arable land to cater for the production of biofuels should be stopped because such action will deepen global food scarcity and drive up food prices," he said.

The D8 consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey and was formed in Istanbul in 1997.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, is also attending the summit.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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