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Commonwealth Summit Ends in Malta

The Commonwealth summit ended in Malta Sunday with members urging the European Union to reduce farm subsidies to make the world markets more accessible to the developing countries.

Trade dominated the talks of the 53 heads of government attending the three-day Commonwealth summit in the Maltese capital Valletta. The issue was of particular importance, coming just weeks before crucial World Trade negotiations in Hong Kong.

Commonwealth members agreed that trade offers the best way out of poverty for millions of people, including those in African nations and Caribbean and Pacific island countries largely dependent on agriculture.

The Commonwealth's top official, Don McKinnon, said Sunday he hoped the European Union would hear the group's call to cut farm subsidies. He held out the U.S. trade proposal as a model.

"The U.S. has put a major offer on the table on agriculture. The E.U. has to do a lot better, and that has been underlined very firmly in the statement from the 53 leaders," Mr. McKinnon said.

Europe's policies of subsidizing its farmers have become a major hurdle in talks aimed at opening the marked to poorer countries.

Commonwealth leaders also discussed climate change, development and migration issues. They condemned terrorism in all its forms and warned that measures to combat it must take account of human rights.

But they set aside concerns about democracy in Uganda after the arrest of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, and decided they will hold their next summit in Uganda in 2007.