January 30, 2009 / 7:51 PM / 10 years ago

Eye-catching quotes from the World Economic Forum

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - With bankers thin on the ground at this year’s World Economic Forum, many but not all of the most striking statements have come from politicians seeking a solution to the economic crisis and to political problems vexing the world.

Below are some of the notable utterances from the annual gathering of business chiefs and policymakers in this Swiss ski resort.

RABOBANK CHIEF EXECUTIVE BERT HEEMSKERK

“Here in Davos everybody is deeply pessimistic. I have not met one single optimist.”

POLITICS...

TURKISH PRIME MINISTER TAYYIP ERDOGAN BEFORE STORMING OUT OF

A DEBATE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

“President Peres, you are older than I am. Maybe you are feeling guilty and that is why you are so strong in your words. You killed people. I remember the children who died on beaches.”

ISRAELI PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES THE FOLLOWING DAY

“We don’t want conflict with Turkey. We are in a conflict with the Palestinians.

“I don’t see this as a personal or national problem. The relations can remain as they are. My respect (for him) hasn’t changed. It was an exchange of views and views are views.”

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN

“The existing financial system has failed.”

FELIPE CALDERON, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO

“I don’t know what the name of this new crisis could be, maybe ‘Big Mac’ crisis or something like that.”

CHINA PREMIER WEN JIABAO

“The ongoing international financial crisis has landed the world economy in the most difficult situation since last century’s Great Depression.”

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

“Not to make a decision, the policy of doing nothing, will allow this crisis to start a retreat from globalization with huge implications for prosperity in every part of the world in the years to come,” he said.

IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI

“We do believe that if the new administration of the United States, as Mr. Obama said, is going to change its policies, not in saying but in practice, definitely they will find the region in a cooperative approach and reaction.

KENYAN PRIME MINISTER RAILA ODINGA ON ZIMBABWE

“It is the time for Mr. Mugabe to be shown the door. If he is to be given a safe exit ... so be it. If he needs a golden handshake, let’s assure him of a golden handshake.”

S.KOREA PREMIER HAN SEUNG-SOO AFTER N.KOREA SCRAPS ACCORDS

“We hope that instead of threats of this kind, North Korea would come out to talk to us on matters of mutual concern.”

INDIAN TRADE MINISTER KAMAL NATH

“If there are protectionist measures, India will be compelled to also take commensurate measures against those countries which will be good for no one.”

FINANCIAL CRISIS AND REGULATION...

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK CHIEF JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET

“Everybody can see the present system is too fragile, and we have to re-introduce an element of resilience, and we need to do that without any consideration of any kind of vested interest.”

HENRY KRAVIS, FOUNDING PARTNER OF KOHLBERG KRAVIS ROBERTS

“Financial institution regulation is coming and it’s coming in a very major way.”

EU INTERNAL MARKET COMMISSIONER CHARLIE MCCREEVY

“I am very much for making big steps here, but I am afraid the political will has not been there until now.”

JP MORGAN’S JAMIE DIMON

After admitting bankers had done “some really stupid things,” Dimon hit out at policymakers and regulators.

“I haven’t yet seen people get all the right people in a room, close the damn door and come out with a solution.”

STEPHEN SCHWARZMAN OF BLACKSTONE GROUP

“Forty percent of the world’s wealth was destroyed in the last five quarters. It is an almost incomprehensible number.”

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