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Clinton Calls For 'Unifying Vision' Among Leaders

US President Bill Clinton has called for a "unifying vision" among world leaders faced with inequalities in spite of economic prosperity. John Howard reports.

Clinton was speaking in a final address to centre-left leaders including Britain's Tony Blair whose "Third Way" concept is causing controversy.

"With half the world living on two dollars a day, talk of a "Third Way" was "academic" because some countries need above all more help to face problems like poverty, AIDS and malaria," Clinton said.

He said it was an "irony of our times" when the secrets of the universe, the genome and the right balance between social justice and economic growth are being discussed that "there are people in the world who are afraid of people different from us."

"Respect for our common humanity is the most important thing, how we listen to and treat others," he said.

Speaking about globalisation Clinton said: " Ordinary people are not so sure about the global economy as they wanted to see a human face on globalisation."

"If we want to pursue it, we must prove to the people that it can work," he said.

He also stressed how difficult it was to implement political platforms on which political leaders and parties have been elected, pointing to his own election in 1992 and the election two years later of an adverse Congress dominated by the Republicans.

Clinton added there were problems, but "no one has all the answers" how to take up challenges to economic and social policies.

EU Commission president Romano Prodi endorsed Clinton's message noting that Europeans wanted to preserve their way of life "in a caring society" in what he called a European social model.


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