Last Updated:September 2 @ 11:33 am

Clinton calls for action at start of NYC meeting

By Verena Dobnik

NEW YORK (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday challenged Wal-Mart to open a store in Libya and help create jobs in the world's most troubled areas.

"If the new president of Libya asked you to open a store in Tripoli, would you consider it?" Clinton asked Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke at the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative.

The annual forum brings together leaders in politics, business and philanthropy for three days of brainstorming about the most pressing global problems.

Duke was on a Clinton-mediated panel with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Queen Rania of Jordan and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

The Wal-Mart executive — jokingly calling the corporate giant a "small company from Arkansas," Clinton's home state — said the company already operates in high-risk areas including parts of sub-Saharan Africa. But Wal-Mart has no presence in Tripoli, the Libyan capital Clinton named as a possible location.

Newly elected Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif is listed among about 1,000 forum participants, as is Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a leader of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

Libya faces more domestic upheaval after the killings of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Libyan city of Benghazi earlier this month. Both Egypt and Libya have seen protests against an anti-Islam film made in the United States that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.

More than 50 current or former heads of state are lined up for this year's high-power gathering. On Sunday, the audience in the ballroom of the Sheraton New York Hotel included the former president's daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is to speak on Monday morning, and President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

The theme of the 2012 meeting is "Designing for Impact." Its stated purpose is to consider how theClinton Global Initiative community "can utilize our abundance of global capacity to invent better tools, build more effective interventions, and work creatively and collaboratively to design a future worth pursuing."

The U.N. secretary-general said the "top priority" is sustainable development — especially for basic needs such as energy, food and water in poor parts of the world.

"I'm going to sound an alarm to all the leaders," he said. "We are living in an era of insecurity, injustice, inequality and intolerance, and what should we do?"

He called on powerful businesses like Wal-Mart to not only act for profit but also "for humanity."

The World Bank head noted, however, that even effective efforts such as delivering HIV-fighting drugs to impoverished countries with high infection rates cannot succeed unless ways are found to expand help to large numbers of people.

"How do you go from promising initiatives to taking things to scale?" Kim asked.

One solution is to knock down the average cost of a year's HIV treatment so it's more accessible in low-income societies. In four African countries — Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia — the cost averages about $200, compared with $682 in South Africa, according to research by the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Since Clinton created the Global Initiative in 2005, members have made 2,100 "commitments" seeking to improve the lives of people in more than 180 countries.

On Sunday, Clinton highlighted a Procter & Gamble-sponsored project aiming to provide 2 billion liters of clean drinking water every year to save the life of one child per hour in the developing world.

But he said the long-term prospects for struggling societies rest on educating workers and helping them land jobs, or run their own businesses, "and at least maximize chances that they'll have something to look forward to when they get up in the morning."

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9 Comments

  1. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    September 24, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    OPEN UP A STORE IN LIBYA,WHAT A BUFFOON.WALMART SHOULD TELL THE DEMOCrats TO KISS THERE ENTIRE A$$.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 24, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

      Isn’t this kind of like pushing businesses to open stores in high-crime neighborhoods? Why would any sane businessman want to open a business in a place where their losses would eclipse their sales and their personnel would be at risk? Never mind the fact that a government in turmoil could be taken over by one that decided to seize all private businesses and make them the property of the state. Oh, that’s right. Business isn’t supposed to be about making money. Silly me, thinking that profit is a legitimate motivation.

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  2. giraffemomComment by giraffemom
    September 24, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    Clinton has some pull with WalMart… I remember as a teen an episode of Designing Women that had a plug for Clinton and talked about Sam Walton too. Clinton is an example of a charismatic success. He somehow managed to hijack the Republican contract with America and take all the credit for Newt’s plans… oh, I remember how, he was willing to work across the aisle unlike this charismatic president that we have now. IF he would quit accusing the Republicans of stonewalling him, he too could steal the credit for the great things they do. Clinton was a philandering skunk who smells like a rose because he worked with Republicans.

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  3. way2coolComment by way2cool
    September 24, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    Can’t wait for Monica’s book to come out! That’ll tell you what a lying scumbag Clinton really is – in print, no less.

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  4. kimberlymentzerComment by kimberlymentzer
    September 24, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    Scumbag clinton should consider the long-term prospects for struggling societies in the USA and and helping them land jobs, or run their own businesses, “and at least maximize chances that they’ll have something to look forward to when they get up in the morning.”

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  5. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    September 24, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    The only difference between obummer and sleazy willie is sleaze got hummers in the oval orifice.

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  6. cgretiredComment by cgretired
    September 24, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    Wait.. maybe Clintoon can go over and be the first WalMart manager to open the store.

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  7. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    September 24, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    What would be nice is; If both Clinton’s went away, and stayed away. Also if Walmart took Slick Willies advice… what would the proper Walmart response be, if a “flash mob” showed up with rpg’s, AK 47s, and machine guns? Call store security? Just wondering.

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  8. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    September 24, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    I thought the Democrats all hated Wal-mart because their employees are non-union.

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