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Spring session of IMF overshadowed by protests

The Swiss finance minister, Kaspar Villiger, says the concerns of anti-globalisation demonstrators have to be taken seriously. Villiger is heading the Swiss delegation at the spring meeting in Washington of the IMF and World Bank.

The Swiss finance minister, Kaspar Villiger, says the concerns of anti-globalisation demonstrators have to be taken seriously. Villiger is heading the Swiss delegation at the spring meeting in Washington of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Although thousands of protestors managed to delay the arrival of some financial leaders, the meeting went ahead as scheduled. The Swiss delegation said they got to the conference centre by six o'clock in the morning in order to avoid the demonstrations.

Speaking to the Swiss media, Villiger answered the critics by saying the IMF had shown that it was willing to reform itself and become more transparent.

He said the Bretton Woods institutions shared the same goal as the protestors - combatting poverty. However, he said that was not possible without macro-economic stability and stability in the international financial system.

Villiger chaired a meeting of the Group of Ten countries, which the Swiss finance minister said focussed on reforms. He said a large increase in private capital investments in the 1990's called into question state funding as the sole basis for IMF loans.

swissinfo with agencies


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