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UN General Assembly

Sarkozy calls for international solution to financial crisis

Article published on the 2008-09-24 Latest update 2008-09-24 10:05 TU

Sarkozy addresses the 63rd UN General Assembly.(Photo: Reuters)

Sarkozy addresses the 63rd UN General Assembly.
(Photo: Reuters)

At the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the establishment of a group of leading countries to co-ordinate a response to what he called “the most serious financial crisis the world has experienced since that of the 1930s.”

The French leader suggested that the group use a “G8 format”, with leading economic powers taking the driver’s seat and developing countries like China possibly being included.

The group would establish a set of “principles and new rules” to guide a more “regulated capitalism”. Sarkozy also emphasized the need to punish those financial managers who “risk the savings of depositors.”

The financial crisis dominated the first day of speeches before the 192-member Assembly, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasising the need to “restore order to international financial markets” in his opening remarks.

“Let’s work out how to manage the most acute crises together; those that no country, even the most powerful in the world, can resolve alone,” Sarkozy said.

US President George Bush, speaking earlier Tuesday, assured world leaders that his administration’s 700 billion dollar (476 billion euro) package would be approved “in the urgent time frame required”, despite continuing strong opposition from both parties in Congress.

Bush went on to call for sanctions against North Korea and Iran for their alleged nuclear weapons programs. “We must not relent until our people are safe from this threat to civilization.”

The call seemed to fall on deaf ears. A meeting of major powers scheduled for Thursday to discuss a response to Iran’s nuclear program was cancelled after Russia refused to take part.

“We do not see any fire that requires us to toss everything aside and meet to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme in the middle of a packed week at the United Nations General Assembly,” the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement.