Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Malaysia’s Mahathir invited to a sideline
meeting at G8 summit in France

KUALA LUMPUR–Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will travel to France for a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries summit.
Mahathir said the invitation was an honor to Malaysia as it reflected that developed countries respected and recognized Malaysia’s economic achievements.
“We are chosen in our capacity as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) chairman to have a dialogue with the G8 countries.
“Previous NAM chairmen were not invited. This invitation is a recognition to NAM and also to Malaysia,” the prime minister told a mammoth gathering of his ruling United Malays National Organization late Sunday.
Mahathir is expected to leave for France on May 30.
The meeting is separate to the scheduled meeting between the G8 leaders and a group of about a dozen countries whose leaders have been invited to participate.
France is hosting the June 1-3 meeting of the G8 –which groups France, Britain, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia–as the current holder of the group’s rotating presidency.
The 77-year-old leader has announced he would step down in October and his 63-year-old heir apparent, deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, would replace him.
Mahathir, a veteran Southeast Asian leader who has led Malaysia since 1981, is credited with raising the country from the commodity-based economic backwaters into the manufacturing mainstream of Asian exporters.
-- Agence France-Presse