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WTO Meeting to Stay in Qatar - 2001-10-22


Doha will be the host city for next month's World Trade Organization meeting. There had been speculation that the talks would be moved elsewhere because of security concerns arising from the U.S.-led strikes in Afghanistan. But, the WTO's general director said Monday the group is to meet as scheduled.

After weeks of concern about security and discussion about possibly moving the World Trade Organization meeting to Singapore, it was announced that barring "something catastrophic" Qatar will remain the host country.

The WTO's general director, Mike Moore, made the announcement Monday at the end of a visit to Doha. He expressed confidence the conference would be secure and said he expected representatives from 141 countries to participate.

The purpose of the meeting, which is to be held November 9-13, is to focus on efforts to launch a new round of global trade talks.

A high-level official with the Qatar Organizing Committee said extraordinary security measures are being taken in Doha. He said it is one of the safest areas in the Middle East.

Another organizing committee member said Qatar had spent an estimated $50 million in preparations for the conference.

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