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French, Indian Leaders Call for International Talks on Financial Crisis


French and Indian leaders called for international talks on the global financial crisis during an EU-India summit in Marseille, France. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports for VOA that the meeting also touched on civilian nuclear cooperation, global warming and trade.

Following talks in Marseille, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pushed for an international summit on the global financial downturn to be held by the year's end.

Mr. Sarkozy, who had also proposed the idea at the United Nations last week, told reporters he would gather Europe's most powerful economies - France, Britain, Italy and Germany - for talks on the crisis in a few days. France currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.

The discussions in the Mediterranean French city also focused on increasing civilian nuclear cooperation between the 27-member EU and India. France is expected to sign a deal soon to provide nuclear material to India - in line with similar agreements France has struck with other countries in recent months.

Mr. Sarkozy told reporters that Europe welcomed India's willingness to develop its civilian nuclear power capabilities, and that it has urged India to participate in European research and security efforts.

French President Sarkozy said the talks also included ways to coax Iran to abandon its nuclear program, which Tehran claims is for peaceful purposes, but many countries fear is geared toward building a nuclear bomb.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also noted that the EU and India reached an agreement on trade.

"We have agreed to achieve an annual bilateral trade turnover of 100 [billion] euros within the next five years and to work toward the conclusion of an India-EU broad based trade and investment agreement by the end of 2009," said Manmohan Singh.

A joint statement released after the talks said the two sides would also work on reaching a climate change agreement by the end of next year. The European Union has criticized India, among other developing countries, for not doing enough to fight global warming.

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