Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposes Blair unite heads of state to discuss trade

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposed in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday that world leaders meet soon to discuss trade issues.

The official government news agency said Silva proposed the meeting occur within the next few days to ease negotiations ahead of the World Trade Organization meeting scheduled in Hong Kong between Dec. 13-18.

"The president suggested a meeting of leaders, of presidents or prime ministers. Tony Blair received the idea well, he said it was an excellent suggestion, but that he would have to consult the other G7 members," Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim was quoted by the agency as saying. Amorim said that Silva and Blair talked for about 20 minutes on Thursday.

He said the meeting would include leaders of the world's seven richest countries as well as those from developing nations and would aim to resolve differences over trade issues. Amorim also said that Silva told Blair that Brazil could not be expected to move forward without cooperation from developing nations, the AP reports.

Trade talks between rich and poor nations have stalled over a number of issues, particularly agricultural subsidies that keep products from poorer nations out of markets in Europe, the United States and Japan. A.M.

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