- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

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WTO collapse in Cancun



COPENHAGEN — The World Trade Organization is in crisis after 146 member countries failed to agree on a free-trade agreement Sunday in the Mexican holiday resort of Cancun.

During the four days of talks, the superpowers — the European Union and the United States — were obviously surprised that a coalition of middle-income and developing countries stood firmly together.

Noteworthy was that the EU’s representatives showed up with a mandate that was not geared to tackle the poor countries’ insistence to become a “power player” in the talks.

The frightening scenario for the EU, as well as global trade, is that the United States has decided to distance itself from the WTO, focusing instead on making bilateral agreements with trading partners.

It is neither the EU, the United States nor the WTO that stand as the biggest losers. Instead some 144 million people in the developing world do. According to the World Bank, they would have their standard of living improved noticeably with a free-trade agreement.

That is the real scandal of the failure in Cancun.

Yomiuri Shimbun

Iran’s nuclear program

TOKYO — The latest [International Atomic Energy Agency] resolution urged Iran to disclose all details of its nuclear program by the end of October. The 35-member board had every reason to make such a request.

If Tehran has only peaceful goals for its nuclear program, it has nothing to hide. The Iranian government should meet the deadlines set by the IAEA board and disclose its nuclear program in its entirety.

This should be complemented by Iranian efforts to sign, ratify and implement the additional protocol as soon as possible. Tehran has demanded that the IAEA ensure the protocol would not violate Iranian sovereignty. However, Iran can hardly justify such demands, given that the protocol is in effect in more than 30 IAEA member nations, including Japan.

Iran also should take to heart that the IAEA members who submitted the latest resolution included Japan and European nations, all of which have maintained relatively favorable relations with the country. Tehran should not be mistaken about the international community’s determination to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Japan relies on Iran for about 10 percent of its oil imports. However, given the severity of the dispute over Iran’s suspected nuclear program, the government should take a resolute attitude on this issue.

Daily Telegraph

Sweden’s rejection of the euro

LONDON — Deep down, even the most fanatical supporters of the euro must now recognize that it isn’t going to happen. Their two main contentions — that the euro is inevitable, and that Britain is too small to go it alone — have been blown away by Sweden’s “nej.” …

The British, Swedish and Danish opt-outs now look permanent. The question is no longer, “Will Britain join the euro?” or even, “Should Britain join the euro?” but, “Given that Britain is not joining the euro, what kind of relationship should we forge with our neighbors?”

All three parties need to do some muscular thinking about this for, at present, our foreign policy is built on a falsehood. Central to Britain’s diplomacy is the notion that, by “leading in Europe,” we can make the EU more receptive to our needs, and so amplify our power in the world. Yet, whatever the pretensions of our successive leaders, it is clear that the British people have no desire to “lead in Europe” if that means surrendering their currency and diminishing their independence. The way in which British Europhiles disregard this reality is, in its way, awesome. What part of “no” don’t they understand? …

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