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Airing moderates’ message

By Sunday November 13th, 2011 No Comments

Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who arrived here yesterday (Friday local time) will today join the list of heads of government to have been given the honour to speak at the prestigious East-West Center.

The prime minister will give an insight of his vision on the Global Movement of the Moderates (GMM), which he had first brought up to world attention at the United Nations General Assembly in September last year, amid growing Islamophobia.

At the General Assembly, he had, among other things, said that the real issue was not between Muslims and non-Muslims, but between moderates and extremists of all religions, be it Islam, Christianity or Judaism.

Najib had since spoken about the agenda at a number of international forums, and only two weeks ago, it was incorporated in the communique issued on the final day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth.

The session at the East-West Center today is not only an honour for Najib but also indicative of the positive response to the GMM agenda from the United States.

The East-West Center has been dubbed as one of the most prestigious international institutes working on Asia-Pacific issues.

It was set up by the US Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the people and nations of Asia, Pacific and the US through cooperative study, training and research programmes.

Najib, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, is here to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Meeting tomorrow (Sunday local time). His schedule today begins with a meeting of leaders of nine Apec countries, chaired by US President Barack Obama.

The countries — Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam — are seeking to forge a trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a vehicle for attaining some form of economic integration across the region.

Najib is also scheduled to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev before going to the East-West Center to address an audience comprising government officials, the business community, academics and students. He will later have a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the Doha Round of trade negotiations among members of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation was among the issues discussed at the Apec Ministerial Meeting yesterday.

Several trade ministers, who acknowledged that the Doha Round had gone nowhere 10 years after its launch, had called for some momentum to be restored to the trade talks when WTO trade ministers meet next month in Geneva.

The Doha Round was launched with the goal of helping poor countries prosper through trade, but bitter divisions over how much developed countries should cut farm tariffs and subsidies in exchange for developing countries opening their markets have resulted in no real progress.

“Malaysia is committed to the Doha Round coming to a conclusion. We don’t want another exercise in stock-taking next month,” Mustapa told Malaysian journalists after yesterday’s meeting.

At another Apec session yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman briefed his counterparts on the government, economic and other transformation programmes introduced by Najib.

Source : New Straits Times

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