Economic crisis tops agenda of APEC leaders’ summit

Published on channel news Asia, by AFP/vm, 16 November 2008.

LIMA – The crisis plunging the world into a recession is to dominate an APEC summit in Peru next weekend, along with efforts to firm up an international response to the turbulence.

The November 21-23 gathering of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will also serve as the swansong multilateral summit for US President George W. Bush, who leaves office in January 2009.

Bush, and 20 other heads of state and government from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, will be attending the high-security event …

… Host country Peru, meanwhile, is under fire from neighbour Bolivia for going it alone in pursuing a free trade agreement with Europe instead of negotiating within a South American bloc, the Community of Andean Nations.

Peru’s principal union, the General Workers’ Confederation, backed by the main opposition party, has called for a mass protest on Friday to “reject the presence of Bush, who bears responsibility for the financial crisis.”

Other leftwing demonstrations are also planned.

Security, though, promises to be extraordinarily tight – even tighter than at the last APEC summit in Australia, when a fake convoy transporting a team of TV comics, one of whom was dressed up as Osama bin Laden, was waved through police checkpoints to the official venue.

A total of 110,000 police and 90,000 soldiers are to be mobilized across Peru. In the capital, consecutive rings of security will surround the summit venue, delegates’ hotels and the defense ministry. (full text).

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