G20 leaders begin historic summit to combat global crisis (Lead)

November 15th, 2008 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 15 (IANS) As world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met here Saturday for a second day in a summit to tackle the global financial crisis, US President George W. Bush said there was still a lot more work to be done.He, however, lauded the participants for affirming their commitment to free-market principles and warned against the danger of countries resorting to protectionist policies during a crisis like the current one.

“We had a good, frank discussion last night,” Bush said Saturday. “There’s some progress being made, but there’s still a lot more work to be done.”

The historic two-day summit meeting, which brought together prime ministers and presidents from the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies, got in full swing Saturday.

The summit is aiming to figure out what caused the global crisis and assess government responses to it, Bush said Friday. It would also identify regulatory reforms and launch a “specific action plan” to implement them, he said.

“Obviously, you know, this crisis has not ended. There’s some progress being made but there’s still a lot of more work to be done,” Bush told reporters as he arrived at the National Building Museum for the summit.

“I’m pleased with the progress we’re making,” he said. “I am pleased that we’re discussing a way forward to make sure that such a crisis is unlikely to occur again. And I am pleased that leaders reaffirmed the principles behind open markets and free trade.

“One of the dangers during a crisis such as this is that people will start implementing protectionist policies,” he said.

India Friday expressed the hope that the G20 leaders would agree on a coordinated fiscal stimulus plan to arrest global recession and ask countries to resist rising protectionist pressures.

“In our view the most important thing right now is to counter the recessionary tendencies that people are talking about,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahuwalia, who is playing the key role of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “sherpa” at the summit, said Friday.

The historic summit brings together the Group of Seven industrial nations, a dozen emerging markets like India, China, Brazil, and South Africa and the European Union which together account for 90 percent of global economy.

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