- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 18, 2008

CAMP DAVID, Md. (AP) – President Bush, who is being pressed by European leaders to sign on to global financial market reform, will host a summit of nations in the near future to discuss the economic crisis that has shaken markets around the world, a senior administration official said Saturday.

President Bush says the world’s leaders must work together to solve the financial crisis.

The president stood with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso at Camp David, declaring that nations will modernize their financial systems.

The summit will focus on ideas to prevent a crisis from recurring and to preserve the free market system, said the Bush administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not yet been made. Bush is not expected to announce a date or site for the event.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso are trying to convince Bush that now is a good opportunity to tighten and better coordinate control of the financial markets, in response to the credit crisis.



The president has backed the steps European nations have taken to stem the downturn, and wants the summit to include the Group of Eight industrialized powers plus other emerging economies like China and India. The White House says Bush, who has just three months left in office, wants to listen to a broad range of ideas, not just from Europe, but from Asia and developing countries.

But the U.S. hasn’t signed on to the more ambitious, broad-stroke revisions that some European leaders like Sarkozy have in mind for the world financial system. And with only three months left in office, reforming the global financial system likely will fall to his successor. It’s unclear if the summit will be before or after the U.S. presidential election and whether the candidates, their representatives or the winner would attend.

Sarkozy and Barroso were stopping at Camp David to meet with Bush on their way home from a summit of French-speaking nations in Quebec City, Canada.

At the summit, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered Saturday to host an emergency G8 summit at New York’s United Nations Secretariat to discuss the global financial crisis. Ban issued a statement backing Sarkozy’s appeal to act aggressively and collectively to address the economic meltdown at a summit of the world’s most influential nations by December.

“I strongly believe that holding the summit at the United Nations, the symbol of multilateralism, will lend universal legitimacy to this endeavor and demonstrate a collective will to face this serious global challenge,” said Ban.

On Friday, Sarkozy repeated his call to overhaul the global financial system so that it can be better supervised in the wake of the crisis.

“Together we need to rebuild a capitalism that is more respectful to man, more respectful to the planet, more respectful to future generations and be finished with a capitalism obsessed by the frantic search for short-term profit,” Sarkozy said

Sarkozy has floated the idea of reforming rating agencies and even exploring the future of currency systems. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who engineered a British bank bailout that inspired U.S. and European rescues, is proposing radical changes to the global capitalist system, including a cross-border mechanism to monitor the world’s 30 biggest financial institutions.

In his weekly radio address, Bush on Saturday sought to reassure Americans about the cost and scope of the nation’s financial bailout plan and said that in the long run “our economy will bounce back.” He acknowledged that people are concerned about their finances and, while he offered assurances about an eventual recovery, he did not say when that would happen.

Since Oct. 9, 2007, when the Dow topped 14,000, investors have lost $8.3 trillion from pension funds, college savings plans, 401(k)s and other investments. Congress gave Bush a $700 billion plan to buy bad assets from banks and other institutions to shore up the financial industry.

“The federal government has responded to this crisis with systematic and aggressive measures to protect the financial security of the American people,” Bush said in the radio broadcast. “These actions will take more time to have their full impact. But they are big enough and bold enough to work.”

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