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12th Francophonie summit opens amid financial crisis
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The 12th Francophonie summit opened Friday in Canada's French-speaking Quebec City with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling for efforts to help resolve the current global financial crisis.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at the opening session of the Francophonie Summit in Quebec City October 17, 2008. The biennial summit of the 55-member countries with large French-speaking populations runs from October 17-19. [Xinhua] 

In a speech at the opening ceremony, Harper told the gathering of French-speaking nations that it has a role to play in helping the world emerge from the global financial crisis.

He stressed that a targeted and efficient response is needed to address the crisis, whose damage are spreading to the developing nations.

He also called for coordinated efforts to strengthen peace, security and global stability.

He urged the states to take effective measures to forge effective and realistic multilateral cooperation.

Other leaders addressing the opening ceremony include French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who reiterated his call for rebuilding a new financial and monetary system.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks at the opening session of the Francophonie Summit in Quebec City October 17, 2008. [Xinhua] 

"We want another monetary system... The IMF must reflect on its operation," said Sarkozy, who has also proposed a world summit dedicated to the financial crisis in the near future.

This summit must also include emerging countries such as China and India, said Sarkozy, whose speech raised applause from participants.

Given that the world faces the most serious economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression 1930s, well coordinated cooperation is necessary, said the French president.

The three-day summit of la Francophonie is bringing together leaders for talks on government and democracy, economy, environment and the future role of the French language.

Representatives of 55 member countries and 13 observer nations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary General of La Francophonie Abdou Diouf were present at the ceremony.

"The banking crisis, the financial crisis, and the food crisis, as well as the energy crisis: all of these are to be discussed by leaders at the summit," Diouf said before the conference began.

Jean Charest, Quebec Premier, said before the summit that "the circumstances are such that we're the first North-South forum to take place amid this crisis and so it's an opportunity to measure its impact" particularly on poorer nations.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) shakes hands with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the Citadelle in Quebec City October 17, 2008. [Xinhua/AFP] 

(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2008)

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