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Muslim 'D-8' Summit Opens with Call for Common Market - 2004-02-16


Iran's foreign minister has opened a summit between eight predominantly Muslim countries in Tehran, calling for the creation of a common market among member nations.

Iran's state news agency reports Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazzi made the proposal at the opening session of the D-8 summit, which includes members from eight developing countries.

The Iranian foreign minister called for the countries to find ways to increase trade among themselves.

The D-8 members include Iran, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. The group was formed in 1998 to encourage economic cooperation among the eight predominantly Muslim states.

The foreign minister said the group's current total amount of imports and exports is nearly $447 billion, or about seven percent of global trade.

The combined population of the eight countries is about 800 million people, or close to 13 percent of the world's population.

Heads of state from each of the member countries are scheduled to begin a two-day economic summit in Tehran on Wednesday.