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Europe

UN to Host Global Finance Reform Summit in December

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have agreed that the United Nations will host an international summit on reforming the global financial system in December.

The flags of the United Nations wave in front of the UN headquarters in New York

The UN would give international weight to the reform summit, Ban said

It remains unclear who is to participate at the meeting, which Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have said should be "a new Bretton Woods," the French daily Le Figaro reported Saturday on its Web site Saturday, Oct. 18.

In September, Sarkozy said that it was "necessary to rebuild the entire global financial and monetary system from the bottom up, the way it was done at Bretton Woods after World War II."

Ban said the UN would offer its facilities to the summit Sarkozy proposed.

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange look up

A positive summit could restore confidence to stock markets

"We both agree that there is no time to lose and, therefore, I fully subscribe to your idea of convening such a forum in early December at the latest," the UN leader said in a public letter to Sarkozy.

Ban said called an "expanded, emergency" summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations an effective way of reacting to the current financial crisis.

"Such a format will allow us to more effectively act upon a crisis which requires a global solution through cohesive international partnership."

Sarkozy: World must change

Sarkozy and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for a meeting of world leaders by the end of 2008 to work out a response to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

The world is in need of major changes, Sarkozy said

"We need to reflect on the stakes, how we arrived here, who is responsible, and what happened," Sarkozy told a summit of French-speaking nations in Canada late Friday. "And we must draw lessons from it. The world must change."

That call was also heard from Brown at last week's EU summit in Brussels.

In July 1944, an agreement was signed in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, that established new rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states.

Sarkozy has said that he would like the G8 group of leading industrial nations, the large developing nations, such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa, and representatives from the Arab world to participate at such a summit. Later Saturday, the French president and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso will meet with US President George W Bush to get his agreement to take part at the summit.

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