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Davos summit organisers play down threat of protests

The World Economic Forum has rejected accusations of a lack of transparency and is playing down the threat of disruption by demonstrators when its annual meeting opens in Davos on January 27.

This content was published on January 18, 2000 - 10:31

The World Economic Forum has rejected accusations of a lack of transparency and is playing down the threat of disruption by demonstrators when its annual meeting opens in Davos on January 27.

At a presentation of the elite meeting's line-up at the Forum's headquarters in Geneva, the organisers said they had invited 650 media representatives as well as leaders of major pressure groups to take part in a range of debates. Claude Smadja, the Forum's executive director, emphasised that the central theme involved discussion on how to make globalisation inclusive for a wider range of people in society.

Under the slogan "new beginnings, making a difference" 30 heads of state and government, including President Clinton, along with hundreds of academics and more than a thousand business executives will take part in four days of meetings and discussions, some of them behind closed doors.

Topics include the future of globalisation, how to sustain the current economic boom in industrialised countries, the impact of biotechnology and information technology, as well as quality of life and society.

Anti-globalisation groups that disrupted the World Trade Organisation's ministerial conference in Seattle last month have accused the Forum of advocating the same policies.

The private foundation that organises the Davos meeting acts on an "invitation-only" basis and most of the private sector participants pay to attend. Klaus Schwab, president of the Forum, claimed that they had even turned down a minister from a major European country.

By Peter Capella

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