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G20 leaders hail global financial summit
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Leaders who attended the G20 financial summit hailed the historic meeting on Saturday for laying a foundation for a more coordinated global response system to the world economic crisis.

In a summary of the U.S.-hosted summit, U.S. President George W. Bush said that leaders from the world's top economies had agreed to modernize financial regulation and cooperate more fully to keep the global financial meltdown from getting worse.

"One of the key achievements was to establish certain principles and take certain actions for adapting our financial systems to the realities of the 21st century," he told a post-summit press conference.

He noted that one of the important agreements reached during the summit was to "reject protectionism and refrain from erecting new trade barriers."

The European Union (EU), another significant player in the summit, also applauded its achievement, which can be boiled down to agreement on four principles -- a coordinated and concerted stimulus through the use of budgetary measures to support demand and the increase of financial assistance to emerging and developing countries; a new regulation for financial markets to prevent a similar crisis from happening again; a global economic governance more open to emerging and developing countries for more justice and efficiency; and a rejection of protectionism and more openness toward exchanges.

"I was very happy with the results of summit," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday afternoon. "It has laid the foundation for the future."

Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the rotating chairmanship in the EU, gave credit to the summit since it was the first time for different countries to gather together in Washington D.C. and agree on principles and action plans on how to solve the world economic crisis.

Britain, which will chair G20 starting January, deemed the summit a start of the "road to the new Bretton Woods," referring to the 1944 meeting in New Hampshire, the United States, where the international monetary protocols were created to govern trade, banking and other financial relations among nations.

"There is a clear determination on the part of world leaders in every continent to take the necessary action to move economies out of difficult period," he said.

For emerging economies, some found the summit becoming opportunities to raise their voices.

Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega told reporters after the meeting that Brazil was pleased since the summit "makes something viable that was not possible before."

However, the country's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, still urged for more voice, more representation for developing countries in international economic organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

India, one of the biggest emerging economies in the world, also made positive response to the summit.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged the international community to consider special initiatives to counter the shrinkage of capital flows to developing countries, and called for changes needed in the global financial architecture to avoid the current financial crisis from recurring.

The summit, which convened leaders from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States, the European Union and the Bretton Woods Institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, ended with a declaration, vowing to enhance cooperation to restore global growth and achieve needed reforms in the world's financial system.

The joint efforts were also welcomed by the international organizations leaders who are concerned about the economic crisis turning into human crisis.

"The Secretary-general welcomes the Declaration of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy, held in Washington D.C. today, which committed leaders to joint action," said a statement of UN chief Ban Ki-moon's office.

He hailed the stimulus programs as an opportunity to promote "green economic development," and expressed support for renewable energy, conversion to more carbon-friendly systems, and investing in climate change adaptation measures in the most vulnerable developing economies.

World Bank chief Robert Zoellick compliment leaders for working to "lay a productive foundation" for recovery but he warned that the financial crisis will not be solved if poorer nations are "left out in the cold."

"But the poorest developing countries must not be left out in the cold. We will not solve this crisis, or put in place sustainable long-term solutions by accepting a two-tier world," said Zoellick in a statement.

"If we are going to avert a human crisis, we will have to do more."

(Xinhua News Agency November 16, 2008)

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