Cuba has taken over the presidency of the Group of 77 countries from Thailand in a ceremony here, Prensa Latina reported on Saturday.

Cuban ambassador in Geneva Rodolfo Reyes received the one—year provisional chairmanship from his Thai counterpart Sihosak Puanyketkeom at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Friday.

Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) Supachai Panitchpakchi, attended the event.

The UNCTAD secretary general assessed the work carried out by Thailand in the past year, which he described to be very hard given the international food, oil, economic and financial crises.

Mr. Panitchpakchi welcomed Cuba to the presidency of the G77 and highlighted that the Caribbean island “offers great security and expectations with its exemplary international solidarity”.

Mr. Reyes underlined that the developing countries, including Cuba, should not benefit from liberalisation of trade in the way it is currently being conducted.

“Financial and economic crisis demands responses. We cannot forget that there are old challenges of great importance that are still unresolved in the poor regions of the planet. We cannot confuse the agenda of the rich with ours,” Mr. Reyes said.

He added that the UNCTAD is responsible for world peace and security among other things. “But our planet will never be safe and peaceful place if we do not eradicate poverty and reach a sustainable development,” he stressed.

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