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Bill Clinton plans private summit on global woes

Discussie gestart

Frank S

Bill Clinton plans private summit on global woes

Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:19 PM ET
CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton says he is intent on finding ways the private sector can solve some of the world's most pressing problems from poverty to terrorism.
As host of a meeting in New York later this year of private and public sector leaders, Clinton said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday there are plenty of problems governments simply cannot address.

"What I'm trying to do is figure out what private sector people can do," said Clinton, 58, who left office in 2001 after eight years in the White House which saw the longest-ever U.S. economic expansion but were dogged by personal scandal.

"It's unrealistic to think all the world's problems will be solved only by government actions," he said at his home in suburban New York.

"If I were president and I had a Congress that was two-thirds Democrat and we were starting with a budget surplus of prosperity, there would still be needs in the world I would like to see met that the American government could not meet entirely," he said.

"If you're a nongovernmental organization or a corporation, you can say, 'I'm going to do this and do it now."'

The Clinton Global Initiative, to be held Sept. 15-17 in New York to coincide with the United Nations' General Assembly, eyes four topics -- poverty, corruption, climate change and religious and ethnic reconciliation.

Everyone who participates must make a specific commitment to be fulfilled by the next annual meeting, he said. For example, a corporation might commit to building schoolrooms in Kenya or sending educational materials to Mexico.

Anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people might attend, he said.

People expected to attend run the gamut from British Prime Minister Tony Blair to News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch. Clinton also invited Arnold Schwarzenegger but the California governor's office said he would not be able to attend because of legislative business.

Clinton has said he got the idea for the meeting from Davos, where the World Economic Forum meets each year in Switzerland. That meeting has come under fire by critics who complain it is all talk and no action.

"If you come to my meeting, at the end I want you to make a commitment," Clinton said. "If we did one of these every year at the opening of the UN ... and these commitments were made and kept for a decade, I think it would change the world."

One of the youngest former U.S. presidents when he left office, Clinton has established the William J. Clinton Foundation, opened his presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was governor, written his autobiography and most recently served as a U.N. envoy for tsunami relief.

Discussions of ethnic and religious reconciliation will naturally include the issue of terrorism, as will discussions of governments' ability to operate effectively, he said.

"When governments don't have the capacity to deliver the goods, to operate efficiently, to generate economic opportunities, to bring in investment, to give people something to look forward to when they get up in the morning, then that makes them more vulnerable to terror," he said.

But he stressed that security remains a government issue.

Clinton travels next week to Africa for former South African President Nelson Mandela's 87th birthday celebration, then to Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Lesotho and Kenya.

While Clinton said his health was good after heart surgery last year and follow-up surgery this year, his plans to start jogging again have been postponed until after the Africa trip.

"When I was jogging, I didn't feel like maybe it was quite settled inside so I decided I'd walk another couple of months and then start, but I feel good," he said.

He was mum on any political plans by his wife, Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton who faces reelection in New York next year. She is considered a strong contender among the Democrats who want to retake the White House in 2008.

"The honest answer, which no one believes, is I don't know, and I don't want to know because I want her to focus only on getting reelected," he said. "I want her service to be ratified by the people of New York and, until that happens, I don't think she can afford to think about anything else."

Certain rules apply in the Clinton household, he added. "One of them is you never look past the next election because if you do, you might not get past the next election," he said.
#1 - 13-07-2005, 10:12 uur
Iedereen heeft recht op mijn mening.


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