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Developing and Industrial Countries Endorse Plan to Stabilize Financial Markets

In meetings Saturday in Washington, finance ministers and central bank chiefs from developing and industrial countries endorsed a blueprint for dealing with the financial crisis that has frozen global credit markets. VOA's Barry Wood has more.

In meetings at the International Monetary Fund, top finance officials from around the world endorsed the action plan unveiled Friday by the Americans, West Europeans and Japanese (the Group of Seven). In it, the seven richest industrial countries pledged close cooperation to rescue distressed banks, prevent bankruptcies and assure that credit flows resume.

On Saturday, a broader group, 24 nations that comprise the steering committee of the International Monetary Fund endorsed the plan.

Dominique Strauss Kahn, the head of the IMF, said the endorsement represents a breakthrough in global cooperation to resolve what has become the most serious financial crisis in 50 years.

"To have gone further, today, to have had agreement on the same principles by all the membership of the Fund -- that was an idea that we had. But it was not obvious that we could succeed. So, I'm very happy with this big success, the first big success of (global) coordination," Strauss Kahn said.

Earlier, Strauss Kahn had expressed concern about the maginitude of the crisis, saying earlier measures taken by Europeans and Americans to contain the crisis had not yet succeeded.

Meeting with reporters Saturday, Strauss Kahn was optimistic that the new measures, with critical backing from developing countries like China, Brazil, Russia and India, will stabilize markets. This past week, world stock markets fell by from 15 to 20 percent, their biggest decline in 30 years.

President Bush participated in some of Saturday's deliberations. He met with the Europeans and Japanese (G7) at the White early in the morning and then joined a meeting of finance ministers from advanced and developing countries in the late afternoon.

Following the morning meeting at the White House, he pledged close cooperation and said the world economy would emerge stronger from the crisis.

"We are in this together. We will come through it together. (We are) confident that the world's major economies can overcome the challenges we face," Mr. Bush said.

The world's top finance officials had scheduled their trips to Washington long before the tumultuous events of the past week. They are participating in the previously scheduled annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank, both of which are located in Washington. But President Bush's unscheduled appearance at the IMF for further meetings, underscored the commitment of participants to tackle the financial crisis. On Sunday, European leaders are to gather in Paris to draw up a joint plan to cope with the crisis.