Saturday, October 18, 2008


Bush to host global summit

Meeting of world leaders will aim at global economic crisis. French president suggests it be held by end of November.

CAMP DAVID, Md. (AP) -- President Bush said Saturday he will host an international summit in response to the global financial crisis, but said that any reform of financial systems must not chip away at the foundations of democratic capitalism and free enterprise.

Bush, meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, did not set a date or place for the meeting.
In a statement Saturday night, however, the three leaders said it would happen sometime after the U.S. presidential election in early November. They also said the meeting could be the first of a series aimed at addressing the global financial crisis.
The goal of the first meeting, they said, would be "to review progress being made to address the current crisis and to seek agreement on principles of reform needed to avoid a repetition and assure global prosperity in the future." Later summits would seek agreement on "specific steps to be taken to meet those principles," according to the statement.
Separately, Bush said the summit attendees must be open to ideas from around the world, but he said nations should avoid protectionism.
"As we make the regulatory institutional changes necessary to avoid a repeat of this crisis, it is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism - commitment to free markets, free enterprise and free trade," Bush said, standing with the two European leaders at a helipad on a crisp fall afternoon.
"Together we will work to strengthen and modernize our nations' financial systems so we can help ensure that this crisis doesn't happen again," he said.
Both Sarkozy and Barroso, who stressed urgency, are trying to convince Bush that now is a good opportunity to tighten and better coordinate control of the financial markets.
"This is a worldwide crisis so we must find a worldwide solution," Sarkozy said. "We must not give way to fatalism."
"We need a new global financial order," Barroso said.
Crisis felt around the world
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 crisis also has rocked world markets. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for sweeping change in global financial institutions. European Union leaders sought to expand their efforts to rescue their banking system to all 27 member countries.
Bush 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 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 whether the winner of the upcoming U.S. presidential election would attend the first summit.
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 G-8 summit at New York's United Nations Secretariat to discuss the global financial crisis. "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," he said