Bush plans to host a summit of world leaders

Bush plans to host a summit of world leaders


Maryland: President George W. 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.

Word of the impending announcement came at the presidential retreat in Camp David where European leaders are lobbying Bush to hold a summit by the end of the year.

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 US has not 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 is unclear if the summit will be before or after the US 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.

On the sidelines of the Francophone summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Sarkozy and offered to host an emergency expanded G8 summit at the United Nations headquarters 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.