Gordon Brown’s final leg of Gulf tour from Monday

November 3rd, 2008 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownDubai, Nov 3 (IANS) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is arriving in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Monday on the last leg of his whirlwind three-nation tour of the Gulf seeking contributions to his idea of an expanded International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a bailout package in the global financial crisis.Brown is leading a powerful delegation comprising British Secretary of State for Business Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband and 27 industrial leaders as he visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar from Saturday.

Qatar has offered to help Britain in this time of crisis following a meeting between Brown and Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Al-Thani.

While praising Brown’s handling of the current crisis, Al-Thani said: “We share the same world and the same principles and Qatar is not excluded from the current crisis. However, there are other countries that need our help in different ways and we continue to offer assistance to any countries that we can agree with.”

On his part, Brown praised Qatar’s policies to diversify its economy away from oil and gas.

“This great country is leading the world in so many ways,” he said, while lauding that Gulf nation’s move to a knowledge-based economy.

Brown reiterated that the credit crisis could be solved only through international conference.

Brown is looking to add billions of dollars more to the over $400 billion that the IMF has at its disposal to bail out countries under pressure and he feels the Gulf nations, flush with rising oil revenues, could make major contributions.

During the course of his visit to Qatar, the two countries also signed a $406-million ‘Clean Technology Fund’, with Qatar contributing around $227 million.

Brown also praised Qatar for its role in bringing about peace in Qatar. Prior to Qatar, Brown held a meeting in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.

“Saudi Arabia will be at the table during the G20 meeting in Washington (on Nov 15) and you have a crucial role to play and your voice must be heard,” he said at a meeting of the Saudi-British Joint Business Council in Riyadh Sunday after his meeting with King Abdullah.

Saudi Arabia is the only country from the Gulf to be a member of the Group of 20 nations, which also includes India, China and Brazil.

“Any movement on the process of reform at the summit-level meeting in Washington will entice more help from nations such as Saudi Arabia and China to help shore up the global economy,” Brown was quoted as saying.

He also praised the Saudi banking system and said that “the fact that the Saudi banking system was not affected by the current global financial crisis provides clear evidence that it differs from the other systems”.

Brown reiterated the keenness of his country to develop trade and economic relations with Saudi Arabia, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Salih Al-Turki, the chairman of the Council of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, welcomed Brown and said his visit to the to that Gulf nation would provide a good opportunity to broaden the scope of cooperation between the two countries in the fields of trade and investment.

During the course of his two-day visit to the UAE - the first by a British prime minister to the UAE since Tony Blair’s visit in December 2006, he will discuss with the UAE leadership the current global financial crisis and its consequences on the global economy.

Britain’s Ambassador to UAE Edward Oakden said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi that Brown would hold meetings with the UAE leadership to discuss the current global financial crisis and its consequences on the global economy.

The two sides would discuss ways to stabilise the world’s financial markets and help affected countries through a crisis fund.

According to Oakden, Brown would also discuss the needed greater coordination of monetary and fiscal policies of relevant countries and better inter-bank lending.

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