The foreign ministers of 22 nations put the finishing touches today on plans for a summit meeting on world poverty and inequality expected to deal mostly in broad generalities.
In keeping with earlier plans, and with U.S. objectives, there will be no advance conference papers, no formal agenda, no joint communique and no negotiations or attempts to forge concrete agreements when the leaders of 14 developing nations and 8 developed nations meet at this seaside resort Oct. 22-23.
With such diverse headliners in attendence as President Reagan, India's Indira Gandhi, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Fahd, France's Francois Mitterrand, Tanzania's Julius Nyerere and China's Zhao Ziyang, the session could become one of the most highly publicized consciousness-raising events on record.
"The purpose is modest. With 22 heads of state and only two days for discussion, it will have to deal with general points of view," said Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda, a cochairman of the foreign minister's preparatory group.
Castenada, in a press conference to ananounce the results of this weekend's meetings, said the forthcoming North-South summit meeting will not produce immediate results. He expressed the hope, however, that it can provide "a new path and a new direction" to the discourse between rich and poor nations.
U.S. Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. said he was "very pleased" with the preparatory meetings, commending their "unusually constructive" spirit and saying that hte summit will provide "a historic opportunity for a new beginning" of the North-South dialogue.
The preparatory meeting agreed that the "framework for discussion" at the summit will include "food security and agricultural development; commodities, trade and industrialization; energy; and monetary and financial issues."
No national leader will be limited to these four topics, or bound to discuss them all. With a total of only 12 hours of discussion planned each of the 22 leaders will have only about a half-hour to cover everything.
The closed session meeting of foreign ministers rejected a suggestion by Algeria that the proposed "global negotiations" among rich and poor nations, an idea backed by the developing world, be listed as a topic of summit conversation. But the communique of this weekend's sessions and several foreign ministers in individual remarks expressed hope that the summit will facilitate such a global bargaining session.
The Reagan administration has been skeptical to negative about the "global negotiations." Canadian Foreign Minister Mark MacGuigan told reporters he detected "a real change in the American attitude" toward global negotiations to a more positive view, but a State Department official accompanying Haig said there has been no change in U.S. policy. The official said the administration will make no decision about its participation in such a global process until after the Cancun summit.
Among those not attending the October meeting will be Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev.