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G-20 Ministers Call for Global Trade Talks Resumption


Finance ministers and central bankers from 20 powerful economies meeting in Australia have urged an early resumption of stalled global trade talks and greater cooperation against illegal financing.

The Group of 20 wrapped up its annual meeting Sunday, warning of increased protectionism following the collapse of World Trade Organization talks.

The latest series of WTO free-trade negotiations, known as the Doha round, stalled in July because of disagreements over how much developed countries should cut farm subsidies.

In its final communique, the G-20 says a successful Doha round could speed global economic growth, and reduce financial instability and poverty.

The G-20 call for an early resumption of the talks echoed a declaration from leaders of 21 Asia-Pacific economies meeting in Hanoi.

Both G-20 and WTO meetings have attracted mass anti-globalization protests, which have often turned violent.

The annual G-20 meeting in Melbourne was no different, as protesters clashed with police. On Saturday, 10 police officers were injured and seven protesters arrested.

Christine Nixon, the police commissioner for Australia's Victoria State, says foreign activists suspected of instigating the attacks will be investigated.

"They are people who are well trained. What we saw was guerilla tactics and it required us to respond in similar ways," said Nixon.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard denounced the protests as "thuggish behavior."

The G-20 economies account for 90 percent of the world's gross domestic product. Members include the United States, the European Union, Japan, China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

Energy security, foreign exchange flexibility and reform of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were also on the agenda at the two-day meeting in Australia.

The delegates called for greater cooperation in fighting illicit financial activities, such as funding terrorism and money laundering.

The G-20 ministers also condemned last month's nuclear test by North Korea.

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