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G-20 Leaders Reach Historic Agreement

PTI 25 Sep 2009, 2:34:46 AM IST

Taking on board the concerns of India and other countries, leaders of the G-20 countries comprising the world s major economies have decided to continue the stimulus package to quicken global economic recovery. 

The leaders from the US, UK, France, China and others reached a historic agreement to put the group at the centre of their efforts to build a roadmap for durable recovery, avoiding the financial fragilities that led to the crisis.

"Today, leaders endorsed the G-20 as the premier forum for their international economic cooperation. This decision brings to the table the countries needed to build a stronger, more balanced global economy, reform the financial system, and lift the lives of the poorest," the White House said in a statement after US President Barack Obama hosted a dinner for the heads of government that included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Amidst demands by some European Government heads that an exit policy should be made to end the stimulus package agreed in London, the draft declaration of the summit is believed to have stressed the need for continuance of the booster dose notwithstanding green shoots of recovery seen in some countries.

At the London Summit in April, the G-20 leaders agreed to pump in $ 1.1 billion to lift the global economy hit by last year's financial crisis triggering the collapse of many leading financial institutions.

The draft declaration is understood to reflect India's view that it was too early to adopt an exit strategy from the stimulus package, but left it to individual countries to adopt measures after some time, Indian officials involved in the hectic negotiations said.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, was India's pointsman in the negotiations as Singh met world leaders.  At the dinner on Thursday night, the Prime Minister and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, were warmly received by Obama and the First Lady, Mitchelle. 

After an affectionate handshake, the Prime Minister had some consultations with him for a couple of minutes before they got into deliberations in the environment-friendly Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, called the "Green Heart of Pittsburgh." 

The White House statement said dramatic changes in the world economy have not always been reflected in the global architecture for economic cooperation.

"This all started to change today. The G-20 leaders reached a historic agreement to put the G-20 at the centre of their efforts to work together to build a durable recovery while avoiding the financial fragilities that led to the crisis," it said.

Establishing the G-20 as the Premier Global Economic Forum, Obama called on the world's leaders to reform global economic institutions to meet the needs of an interconnected world economy.

"Today, leaders endorsed the G-20 as the premier forum for their international economic cooperation. This decision brings to the table the countries needed to build a stronger, more balanced global economy, reform the financial system, and lift the lives of the poorest," the White House said.

This builds on the decision made in April in London to expand the Financial Stability Board to include all G-20 countries and to add all the G-20 members to the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information.

"The Financial Stability Board is central to our efforts to develop and implement sweeping reforms to transform the system of global regulation.  The Global Forum is the primary vehicle in the G-20's effort to promote greater tax transparency," it said.

The draft communique  is also believed to be strongly worded against any protectionism in trade, investment, services and capital flows and attempts to yield to such temptation in the face of crisis.

The WTO report on the issue has said that countries have broadly avoided the tendency to resort to protectionism but occasional violations have also been seen in the last six months.

The US Government's decision to impose hefty duty on import of Chinese tyres is being cited by opponents of protectionism. 

The Prime Minister has already said that the Summit should send a strong message against protectionism in all its forms and that it should not be business as usual for countries because the global economy is yet to come out of the woods.

The declaration also endorses India's stand for reforms of international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to reflect ground realities by giving greater say in their affairs for emerging economies. 

The US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, said a substantial additional progress in Pittsburgh over what the summit did in London is to add in effect a fourth pillar to the architecture of cooperation established after the Second World War. PTI
Libyans Pitch Tent On Donald Trump's Estate In New York

Libyan officials pitched a tent again on Donald Trump's suburban estate on Thursday a day after it was taken down, prompting town officials to threaten criminal and court action.

A Libyan official, Khalifa Khalifa, said the tent was legal and meant to honour Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who actually never went to the 213-acre (86-hectare) Seven Springs estate or stayed there.

Although Gadhafi intended to stay in his Bedouin tent in the suburban Westchester town, he ended up staying at the Libyan U.N. Mission in Manhattan instead. 

Bedford officials got wind of the tent being freshly erected and arrived at the home early on Thursday evening with a stop-work order and a criminal summons.

The white-topped tent had been dismantled on Wednesday after town officials said it was erected without permits and owner Trump said he requested it be removed.

The Trump Organisation said earlier this week that Gadhafi would not be coming to the property and insisted that Trump has not rented property to him. 

But it said part of the estate "was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr. Gadhafi." 

Town attorney Joel Sachs said he'd seek a court injunction if the tent hadn't been removed by Friday. 

Reporters were escorted off the property on Thursday before the tent was taken down.  Sachs stressed that the city was not singling out Gadhafi and would serve a summons on anyone pitching a large tent without a permit in Bedford. 

Rhona Graff, a vice president of the Trump Organisation, said by e-mail on Thursday night that the tent was down.  Gadhafi addressed the General Assembly on Wednesday, making waves by saying the UN Security Council should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the "terror council". 

The Libyan leader was criticised for giving an effusive welcome home last month to the Libyan convicted of the bombing Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.

Gadhafi gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday afternoon in Manhattan. 

The dismantling of the tent meant another failed attempt to find a place for the Libyan leader to spend time while in the New York area.

Requests for space in Central Park, Englewood in New Jersey and Manhattan's Upper East Side were all rejected.  Gadhafi stayed at the city's Libyan Mission after arriving on Tuesday. AP