Tackle rising fuel, food prices
The D8 group of developing nations must tackle the issue of rising fuel and food prices at its summit here this week, Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said yesterday.
Iran on Saturday rejected Malaysia's proposal to discuss the spiralling price of crude oil at the D8 talks, saying it was not the appropriate platform, the state Bernama news agency reported.
Iranian official Suleiman Pour said that, unlike the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, "the D8 is an economic organisation to enhance economic cooperation among member states," Bernama quoted him as saying.
But Rais said the rising cost of oil was pushing up food prices worldwide and that it would be "unrealistic" to exclude it from the meeting.
"In respect of the matter relating to increasing cost of oil and food, this will be included in the deliberation this afternoon," he said as foreign ministers convened ahead of Tuesday's summit.
"And if the leaders of governments will approve, it will become part of the Kuala Lumpur declaration," he told reporters.
"Members have been discussing this matter... the relationship between food and the spiralling cost of energy is a real thing. Therefore, if there be any view to exclude this from such an august meeting, it would really be unrealistic."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Malaysian Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will attend Tuesday's talks.
The group also includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria and Turkey, which will be represented by ministers.
The group's leaders are expected to endorse a 10-year trade roadmap aimed at boosting economic cooperation and trade among member nations.
Spiking oil and food prices are being increasingly felt around the globe and surging commodity prices could worsen poverty in many poor countries, the International Monetary Fund warned last week.
It said many poor and developing countries would likely have to change their economic policies in response to soaring commodity prices.
Rais also said that the issue of Iran's nuclear programme, and its standoff with the United States, would not be on the agenda, but that leaders were free to discuss the issue separately.