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|Monday, June 05, 2000, updated at 11:09(GMT+8)|
30th OAS General Assembly Opens in Windsor, CanadaThe 30th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) opened late Sunday in Canada's southern city of Windsor.
At the opening ceremony of the three-day session attended by foreign ministers from 34 member states, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien appealed for pooling wisdom to capture the potential of new technology and other transformations and give them a human face.
"In recent years, we have seen an explosion of new technology, breaking down old constraints of time and distance, sweeping away traditional economic structures and assumptions and creating a new economy, in which knowledge, innovation and creativity are the keys to prosperity," said Chretien.
He also called for intensified joint efforts to establish the Free Trade Area of the Americas by the year 2005.
He said that "enhanced trade and investment flows are the engines of economic growth and prosperity."
Chretien expressed the hope that the OAS summit to be held next spring in Canada's Quebec City "will mark yet another historic milestone on the road to making the Americas more free, more secure and more prosperous."
The meeting, the first of its kind to be held in Canada since it joined the organization in 1990, will focus on "human security issues, including democracy, human rights, war-affected children, corporate social responsibility, and threats to people from the illicit trade in drugs and other crimes," according to Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy.
Up to 4,000 Canadian and U.S. police are being deployed in the border city to brace for any attempts by thousands of protesters to shut down the meeting in their anti-free-trade demonstration. At least three protesters were reported to be pepper sprayed in the face in their first clash with police Sunday.
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