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Bali Development Conference Ends Without Agreement on Key Issues - 2002-06-08

Delegates at an international development conference in Bali, Indonesia have failed to agree on key issues. But officials are playing down their inability to reach a consensus.

The chairman of the talks, former Indonesian minister Emil Salim, says the meeting failed to reach agreement in "essential" areas, such as finance and timing commitments. He says, however, that 80 percent of the action plan had been agreed upon.

The 6,000 delegates at the two-week Bali talks drew up a development blueprint that will be debated and voted on by world leaders at the United Nation's Summit on Sustainable Development. That conference will be in August in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Key issues divide rich and poor nations, especially finance, trade, and environmental protection.

Environmental delegates were critical of the United States and other rich nations, who they say are acting in the interests of multi-national companies.

The Johannesburg Summit comes a decade after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It is billed as one of the largest U.N. gatherings ever, with more than 60,000 delegates and one hundred heads of state expected to attend.

The summit's goals include cutting the number of people in the world living on less than one dollar a day by half and halving the number of people who don't have access to safe drinking water by the year 2015.

The U.N. says more than three million people die yearly because of unsafe water, and 815 million go hungry. One-point-one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion lack adequate sanitation.