Turkey expects 50 heads to attend UN conference in Istanbul

09:25, April 13, 2011      

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Turkey said here Tuesday that it expects more than 50 heads of state and government to attend the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) in Istanbul next month.

Mithat Rende, coordinator for the LDC-IV, said at a news conference that 192 UN member states were invited to the conference aiming at ensuring sustainable economic and social development of the least developed countries.

"There are 48 least developed countries in the world with a population of 950 million. Among those countries, here are 33 in Africa, 14 in the Pacific and one in Latin America. Although they are least developed, some of those countries are rich of underground resources like the Democratic Republic of Congo," he said.

The conference, which will be held in Istanbul's Lutfi Kirdar Congress Center from May 9 to 13, will mark "the first time in its history, the conference will take place in a developing country. The event will make valuable contributions to Turkey's international esteem," Rende said.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would make the opening remarks for the conference, Rende said, adding that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are among the guests.

In 1971, the international community recognized the least developed countries as a category of countries distinguished not only by widespread poverty, but also by the structural weakness of their economic, institutional and human resources, often compounded by geographical handicaps.

The group comprising 25 countries at the time has been described by the UN as "the poorest and weakest segment of the international community" whose economic and social development presents a major challenge both for them and for their partners.

The UN General Assembly convened the First United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Paris in 1981, to respond to the special needs of the LDCs. To continue the focus on those countries' needs for special measures, the General Assembly convened the Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, also in Paris, in 1990. The third conference was held in Brussels in 2001.

Source: Xinhua
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