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Third World nations, hoping to relieve crippling debts and...

By
LOUISE BRANSON

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Third World nations, hoping to relieve crippling debts and stabilize their economies, took aid requests of $90 billion to the opening today of the sixth U.N. Conference on Trade and Development.

Yugoslav Foreign Minister Lazar Mojsov gave the first welcoming address to the nearly 3,000 delegates at Belgrade's ultra-modern Sava congress Center. U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and Yugoslav President Mika Spiljak also wished success to the UNCTAD 24-day meeting.

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Spiljak voiced Yugoslavia's concern that in 1982 more than $600 billion was spent on armaments in the world, while only $35 billion went to developing nations as public aid.

The developing nations, their debts totaling $700 billion, also will ask for price-support intervention on commodity markets and restructuring of world trade and financial organizations at the UNCTAD meeting through June 30.

Full sessions of the 166-nation UNCTAD -- the main forum for the developing world to air grievances against industrialized nations -- are held every four years. This year's congerence is the sixth in the series.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi of India, Olof Palme of Sweden and Ruud Lubbers of Holland will address the conference.

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'The most urgent need at UNCTAD VI is in the area of money and finance,' UNCTAD Secretary-General Gamani Corea of Sri Lanka said in a statement released by the U.N. organization during the weekend.

Developing nations in the UNCTAD meeting are seeking increased aid and loans of dlrs 90 billion in 1984 and 1985 from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, industrialized countries and private banks, Corea said.

They also want 'a quick injection of some relief in 1983,' he said.

A $750 million common fund set up two years ago to finance stable world commodity prices has been ratified by only 43 countries, instead of the 90 needed to make it operational.

Although Western nations, excluding the United States, said they will ratify the fund by September, UNCTAD has called for urgent interim price-support measures.

Corea said a collapse in commodity prices between 1980-82 cost the world's developing nations an estimated $21 billion. He said the figure could rise to $61 billion by 1985 without market intervention.

Most Western nations have balked at releasing major new funds to developing nations, saying they should take more stringent measures to reduce their balance-of-payments deficits.

UNCTAD warned, however, that if developing nations are forced to focus on servicing their debts, then they will have to shrink their import markets, which currently absorb about one-third of the exports from industrialized nations.

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UNCTAD said this could 'abort the West's incipient recovery.'

Developing nations also are demanding a restructuring of world trade and financial systems, which they say are no longer relevant since they were set up after the World War II to meet only the needs of the industrialized world.

Representatives of Western nations have said they oppose any major changes in the system, but are prepared to discuss greater Third World participation in organizations such as the IMF and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

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