Lula calls upon countries to do justice to G20 summit

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrated as "very important" the results of the Group of 20 (G20) summit that was held Thursday in London, but warned that individual countries now have to abide by its recommendations, dpa reported.

"Things happened today that I think are important for the history of countries and for the future of humanity, as long as we do not shirk in front of the document," Lula said at a press conference in London.

He called meeting "extremely productive" and said the only doubts were whether countries "will be competent enough to turn those principles into active policies."

Earlier Thursday, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner also praised what she perceived as many Latin American successes in the G20 summit.

Among the summit's main achievements, Lula highlighted the leaders' decision to relaunch the Doha Round of talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"That is something I have fought for four years: transferring the Doha Round discussion to political leaders, and beyond technicians," he said. "When political leaders take responsibility, that's a sign that trade will finally be free."

Besides, he noted that a commitment to the Doha Round should reduce countries' temptation to resort to protectionism. He compared that temptation to the lure of illegal drugs.

Protectionism "may seem important at the start, but in the medium and long term it will be a disaster for the world economy," he said.

Lula also celebrated the G20's decision to fight tax havens.

"It is not possible for a moral, ethical, development-oriented and productive world to coexist with tax havens, which are where the money from drugs and from all crime is laundered," he said.

Lula stressed that the London summit was the first he has attended in which the richest countries appeared "on equal terms with developing countries."

He also expressed his satisfaction with the reform of international financial organs.

"'Credit' is the key word to restart development," Lula said.

For all these reasons, he said he had left the summit "with the greatest satisfaction" in his six years in government because the leaders present understood that "this is a moment for prudence and, at the same time, for political courage."

Fernandez de Kirchner, in turn, highlighted the elimination of a graph from the summit's final document that had favoured the flexibility of labour laws.

In comments to reporters at the end of the summit, Fernandez de Kirchner said she asked that the paragraph be scrapped based on Argentina's "disastrous" experience with such practices.

She added that Lula also supported the move, arguing that he could not accept making the labour market more precarious.

The Argentine president also named as a Latin American victory the changes in the credit-granting criteria at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Fernandez de Kirchner noted that the document acknowledges the "stigma" that many countries faced before the IMF, and the interpretation that conditions that were formerly imposed on loans had been "very harmful" for countries that implemented the IMF's recommendations.

She also praised the G20's determination to combat tax havens.

"That is a very important qualitative jump," she said.

Fernandez de Kirchner added that the London summit showed evidence of a "change in discourse" by the world's richest countries in relation to the international financial system.

"Reforms have been defined. Now (finance) ministers will start work to turn those reforms into a reality," she said. 

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