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Bush to Host World Economic Summit Next Month


The White House will host an international economic summit in Washington on November 15. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports that leaders of the so-called Group of 20 have been invited to attend.

Every region of the world will be represented at the summit, which will include leading industrialized nations plus emerging countries like Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says the summit will give world leaders a chance to sit in one room and discuss the global financial crisis. But she cautions it is just a first step.

"I do not believe that you will have any details coming out of this meeting in terms of things that everyone agrees to at the first meeting," Perino said.

Instead, she says, the summit will give heads of government a chance to take stock and discuss in principle the kind of steps that could be taken in the future. Perino says the gathering will provide guidance to a group of economic experts who will prepare proposals for concrete action.

"I think that what the goal is for this meeting is to identify the causes; note the progress to date that we have made working together in a coordinated fashion, which the president wants to continue; identify principles for reform and then task the working groups to put meat on those bones [i.e., to develop the ideas] and figure out what the principles will look like once they have more detail attached to them," she said.

Perino says the meeting will take place under the auspices of the so-called Group of 20, which was organized in 1999 during the last major global financial crisis.

The White House spokeswoman says both candidates vying to succeed Mr. Bush in the U.S. presidential election on November 4 have been informed about plans for the initial summit. But she says there is no decision on whether the victor - be it Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain - will attend.

Perino also says President Bush wants to make sure the summit takes into account the impact the global financial crisis is having on the world's poorest nations.

"The president thinks it is very important to include developing nations because they have emerging markets. They are important on a variety of levels to the global economy and their input is important," she added.

On Tuesday, at a White House sponsored conference on international development, Mr. Bush said it is even more important during these troubling economic times to help struggling nations find their footing.

Shortly after the economic summit was announced, he underscored that message when reporters were brought in to witness the final moments of his meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The Liberian leader said her country has been able to "turn the corner" with help from the United States.

"I want you to know that the challenges are many. But with the continued support of the American people and the continued support of the American administration and Congress, that we feel that Liberia can become a post-conflict success story," said President Sirleaf.

Next week will mark another milestone in U.S. relations with Liberia. In 1990, thousands of Peace Corps volunteers left that country in the midst of a bloody civil war. On October 27, a new group of 12 volunteers will be sworn-in in Monrovia, marking the Peace Corps' official return.

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