Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Saturday, 11 October 2008 15:52 UK

Bush plea for unity amid crisis

President Bush (centre) flanked by G7 finance ministers and the head of the IMF at the White House on Saturday 11 October 2008
Mr Bush said nations must stand together amid the global financial crisis

US President George W Bush has said the serious global financial crisis demands a serious global response.

He spoke after talks with heads of the Group of Seven (G7) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington.

At the White House, Mr Bush pledged the G7 most industrialised nations would take robust action together.

On Friday, G7 finance ministers agreed to take moves to free the flow of credit, back efforts by banks to raise money and revive the mortgage market.

Announcing no new policies, Mr Bush said: "We must ensure the actions of one country do not contradict or undermine the actions of another.

"In an interconnected world, no nation will gain by driving down the fortunes of another. We are in this together. We will come through it together."

George Bush says the US will lead the response to the crisis

He was joined by G7 finance ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, as well as IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

Amid widespread fears of a global recession, Asian, European and US markets continued to panic sell on Friday despite rate cuts and cash injections by central banks.

Late on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the US planned to invest directly in banks in a programme of partial nationalisation, the first since the 1930s, following a similar UK move.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in eastern France on 11 October 2008
[We must] redirect the markets so that they serve the people, and not ruin them
Angela Merkel
German Chancellor

G7 finance ministers earlier did not rule out adopting another part of the British plan - to guarantee borrowing between banks - as they issued a five-point communique in Washington.

They also kept open the possibility of further cuts in interest rates and taxes.

But BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker, in Washington, says there is some disappointment that the G7 plan lacks detail.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there would be no common financial rescue fund for Europe, like the US bail-out of Wall Street.

The two spoke on Saturday in eastern France where they were commemorating the 50th anniversary of Franco-German reconciliation after World War II.

Chancellor Merkel said "there is no question of a European fund", while Mr Sarkozy said such a move would pose "gigantic problems" in terms of co-ordination between European nations.

The German leader said governments must "redirect the markets so they serve the people, and not ruin them."

The two leaders said a common approach to the financial crisis would emerge from a Paris summit on Sunday of 15 eurozone leaders.

Gordon Brown, prime minister of the UK, will hold talks with Mr Sarkozy in the French capital before the meeting.

The heads of the EU's four biggest economies - Britain, France, Germany and Italy - held a first crisis summit last week but were split over the need for a common plan.

Analysts say another week of plunging stock markets has focused minds and the real test of this weekend's scramble by world leaders to shore up the international financial system will come once markets reopen again on Monday.

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