WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush will host world leaders on November 15 to discuss the financial crisis and brainstorm on how to reform the system to prevent another meltdown, the White House said on Wednesday.
Governments have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars at the financial crisis as they anxiously try to prevent a global recession, help thaw the frozen credit markets and calm jittery stock markets that have swung wildly in recent weeks.
Pressed by European allies also to start work quickly on overhauling the financial system, Bush agreed to host the November 15 summit -- the first of what is planned as a series of such meetings. The White House played down the idea that quick fixes would emerge at the talks, to be held in the Washington area.
The leaders will discuss progress being made to address the crisis, its underlying causes, set principles for reforms and instruct working groups to begin developing recommendations for those solutions, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
“I don’t believe that you’ll have any details coming out of this meeting in terms of things everyone agrees to at the first meeting,” she said. Bush will host a dinner the night before at the White House but an exact venue for the summit has not been set.
Invited will be leaders of the G20, which includes the Group of Seven major industrialised nations and key emerging economies like China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India. Leaders of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and the Financial Stability Forum have also been invited.
“Everybody will come with their ideas and the president recognizes that every country is going to have a responsibility but not every country is going to have the same solution,” Perino said, adding that the United States will come to the table with its own recommendations.
The summit will take place just 11 days after the November 4 U.S. presidential election that will decide who succeeds Bush in January. Perino said that the White House will seek input from the winner, either Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama.
“We don’t know what that president will want or not want to do, and so we’ll just leave that open for now,” Perino said.
Obama welcomed the summit announcement, saying “America must lead and other nations must be part of the solution too.”
SARKOZY WELCOMES SUMMIT DETAILS
Details for the gathering emerged four days after Bush conferred with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and they announced a series of summits to address the crisis.
Welcoming the summit details, Sarkozy said the meeting would be “followed by several others aimed at rebuilding the international financial system and making sure the current crisis does not happen again thanks to better regulation and more efficient surveillance of all players.”
Perino said that Bush was committed to several gatherings but it was unclear whether another would take place before he leaves office on January 20.
Sarkozy has been pushing for a summit for weeks and had suggested New York as the venue. He has also urged leaders to begin overhauling the international financial architecture established at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference.
But the Bush administration has mostly emphasized focussing on the immediate crisis rather than addressing the thorny issue of overhauling the global system.
At the meeting, Bush will emphasise continuing momentum towards freer markets, boosting trade and increasing flows of capital across borders, White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters.
Bush will remind the leaders that increased foreign investment, flows of capital, and increased trade “has in fact helped to improve the standards of living for hundreds of millions
of people across the globe,” he said.
“Anything that we do through this series of summits, I think we want to ensure that we don’t inhibit that kind of market activity, that we continue to see investment and that we continue to see increased trade,” he said.
The White House said the Washington area was chosen as the venue as it was simplest to organise a meeting quickly there, and foreign leaders would have their local embassies close at hand.
Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Tabassum Zakaria in Washington, Crispian Balmer in Paris and Deborah Charles in Richmond, Va., editing by Frances Kerry
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