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Finance officials meeting in Scotland from the so-called G-20 rich and developing countries pledged Saturday to keep propping up their economies for now.
Despite indications that things might be improving economically in some parts of the world, the finance leaders gathered in St. Andrews agreed that emergency support must stay in place until global recovery is assured.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned that ending stimulus measures too early would be damaging to the economy. "It is too early to start to lead against recovery. The classic mistake of past crisis was to put on the brakes too quickly," he said.
British Treasury chief Alistair Darling, the host of the gathering, urged the members to maintain the collective approach woven together over the past few months in summit held in London and Pittsburgh. "What we are saying quite clearly is that while there have been signs of improvement, while there are signs of growing confidence, we are not out of the woods yet and we need to maintain the measures that we have taken and we will commit to doing so," he said.
The recovery is uneven around the world. While Britain remains in a recession, the United States, Germany and Japan for instance have all recorded marginal growth but unemployment remains a worrying concern.
In additions to economic policy, the finance chiefs also discussed climate change initiatives.
Darling urged his colleagues to work toward a $100 billion deal to tackle climate change but at St. Andrews, there was no breakthrough and as he said, much work remains. "There was a great deal of discussion on what might be done, the options that might be available in terms of new funds being available. The governance, we made good progress on the sort of governance that might be put in place and that work will continue and that indeed we agreed at the meeting that we as the presidency would continue to try and do the heavy lifting that will be required to resolve some of the outstanding issues that will have to be dealt with before we get to the meeting in Copenhagen in a month's time," he said.
And despite the Copenhagen summits fast approaching, Geithner sounded an optimistic tone. "The fact that you have finance minister involved now I think is a sign that we are actually getting closer and certainly a sign of the basic judgment that this is a critical economic imperative for all of us and we are going to keep working in the coming weeks toward that objective," he said.
Hammering home the importance, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the delegates in Scotland that climate change was a test of global cooperation every bit as important as the world financial crisis.