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G7 Ministers Agree on Multilateral Effort to Rebuild Iraq - 2003-04-12

Economic policymakers from the world's principal industrial countries agreed Saturday that there should be a multilateral effort to rebuild Iraq, with a large UN role. Protesters turned out in much smaller numbers than they have at previous IMF meetings

The several thousand protesters were kept far away from the meeting which took place at the presidential guest mansion near the White House. The protests were peaceful and smaller than at previous International Monetary Fund meetings.

The Group of Seven ministers endorsed a new United Nations resolution on Iraq and called on the IMF and World Bank to play their normal roles in assessing Iraq's reconstruction needs. Despite German and French opposition to the American led war with Iraq, the meeting took place without apparent discord. The ministers called on the Paris Club of creditor governments to move quickly in resolving Iraq's debt problems. Russia, Germany and France were major sources of credit for Iraq.

After the meeting, Japan's finance minister Masajuro Shiokawa told reporters that Japan is ready to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to Iraq.

"And also at the breakfast meeting as well the issue of rebuilding Iraq came up," he said. "We discussed the preliminary assessment work that can be performed by the World Bank and the IMF and to see how much money is needed for reconstruction and development."

The economic policymakers promised unspecified cooperative action to boost the sluggish pace of world growth. They pledged to move forward the Doha round of talks to expand trade. They were encouraged by recent declines in oil prices and are hopeful that global economic growth will pick up in the second half of the year.