OTTAWA Finance ministers of the world’s leading economies agreed yesterday on an action plan to eradicate terrorist financing networks and studied efforts to revive the shell-shocked global economy.
As the ministers met, protesters rallied again in the capital city, demonstrating against globalization and the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan.
Responding to the impact of the September 11 attacks, the Group of 20 comprising the leading industrial powers and the biggest emerging-market nations endorsed the plan to cut off terrorist financing, ahead of policy-making meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We agreed on an action plan that will enlist all of the G-20 countries in a coordinated effort to eradicate terrorist financing,” said Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin, the current chairman of the influential financial group whose members account for 85 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP).
While there is doubt about the short-term prospects for the global economy, “there was virtual unanimity in the room as to the confidence [we have] in the medium and longer term,” he told reporters.
Mr. Martin said finance ministers discussed the “extensive reconstruction costs” Afghanistan will need once the war is over, but said it would be discussed further at the IMF and World Bank meetings.
The IMF opened its meeting yesterday afternoon, and World Bank and IMF committees will hold joint meetings today.
The G-20 plan to combat terrorist financing calls on members to: freeze assets of terrorists and their associates and close access to the international financial system; make public lists of terrorists whose assets are subject to freezing; implement relevant U.N. resolutions against terrorist financing; and enhance the international exchange of information through each member’s newly established financial intelligence unit.
Earlier, Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill said more than $100 million suspected of aiding terrorist networks had already been blocked around the world, a German finance official told reporters.
In downtown Ottawa, tension mounted as protesters gathered yesterday outside the police security cordon erected around the meeting sites. As many as 2,000 demonstrators were involved in the rallies.
Demonstrators on Friday took to the streets in a largely peaceful protest, but a few militants broke ranks and smashed store windows, including a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant close to the meeting area.