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Latest News

DOHA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Oil-rich Gulf Arab states should give more development aid to poor nations and raise transparency if they want a bigger voice on the world stage in the wake of the financial crisis, a senior U.N. official said on Sunday.
"If you want to become a full global player, it comes with responsibilities," said Salil Shetty, director of the U.N.'s Millennium Campaign, which aims to halve extreme poverty and boost life expectancy by 2015.

"If Gulf states are serious, let's have some cash down," Shetty said in an interview on the sidelines of a U.N. aid meeting in Qatar's capital.
Gulf Arab states, along with developing countries, have demanded a bigger role in global financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank as the financial crisis ripples through their economies.

"They're doing more in terms of helping Islamic countries, which is a good starting point," Shetty said. "There's no reason why the U.S. can support Israel in that (aid) sense, and Gulf countries cannot support Muslim countries.
"I think they need to step up a lot more than they have and they need to become part of the global process because right now they're kind of isolated. They're not part of the mainstream discourse and they need to get there."

CHEQUES AND CONDITIONS
European and U.S. leaders and officials have visited the region in recent weeks, seeking more funds for the IMF as it organizes bailouts for stricken countries. Gulf Arab states maintain that any cheques would come with conditions.
Shetty said it was unclear how much Gulf states gave in development aid because they were not part of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) which tracks statistics on aid based on data provided by its members."We don't get clear numbers, it's very opaque. There needs to be more transparency, with these sovereign funds which are massive," he said.The U.N. official's remarks came after Qatar's ruler said on Saturday that too much was expected of oil producers.

"Sometimes we have a feeling that there are some attempts to put the whole burden of development on the oil-producing countries and in this logic we see some prejudice and disavowal," Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said in a speech.
The U.N. summit on financing for development, which runs until Dec. 2, has been overshadowed by the global financial crisis. (Reporting by Amran Abocar, editing by Peter Millership)


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