IMF chief: "globalisation can benefit whole world"

The new head of the International Monetary Fund, Horst Koehler, addressed journalists for the first time on Wednesday, as delegates began gathering for the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Prague. Mr Koehler was speaking 10 years to the day since Czechoslovakia rejoined the two organisations after 40 years of communist rule, and it's also the first time the IMF and World Bank have gathered in the former Eastern Bloc. Rob Cameron has more:

Top of the agenda at the annual meeting will of course be globalisation - that vague and ill-defined term which protestors opposed to the IMF invoke with the passion of evangelists denouncing the devil. Mr Koehler told reporters it was time for a reasonable, honest and open debate about what globalisation means: But opponents of the IMF say for millions of people around the world globalisation means poverty, not wealth. One of the most contentious issues is of course Third World debt. Mr Koehler said the IMF was committed to relieving the financial burden on the world's poorest countries, and he also stressed that his organisation was interested in dialogue, not confrontation in resolving these and other issues: So the head of the IMF Horst Koehler, a man with a vision to "make globalisation work for the benefit of all." Fine words, but a sentiment unlikely to be shared by the thousands of protestors now gathering in Prague.