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Bush, European Leaders Focus on Financial Crisis


U.S. President George Bush spoke with one European leader by telephone Friday and is scheduled to talk to another in person, as the world watches how the U.S. handles the financial crisis.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke to Mr. Bush by phone. U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe says Mr. Bush expressed confidence that lawmakers in Washington will pass a rescue plan for the troubled U.S. financial markets.

Johndroe also said the two leaders agreed that once the immediate crisis passes, the world will need to determine how to avoid a similar one in the future.

Earlier this week, the French president called for an emergency summit of world leaders to deal with the financial crisis.

The White House says that also will be the main topic of conversation when Mr. Bush meets later Friday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The U.S. financial crisis has shaken the confidence of investors in Europe and around the world.

Economist Margaret Bray of the London School of Economics says a sense of panic among investors has been contagious, making it difficult for economies in various countries to function smoothly.

European central banks, as well as central banks in Asia, have been injecting billions of dollars into the financial markets to prevent them from breaking down. Bray says with that influx of cash, many banks would stop lending money.

If banks refused to lend money, some businesses and governments would no longer be able to meet critical obligations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.