Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 13:03 UK

Leaders urge world finance reform

European and Asian leaders at Asem summit in Beijing, 25 October 2008
The summit was dominated by the financial turmoil

Asian and European leaders have called for comprehensive reform of the global financial system.

Ending a summit in Beijing, they also urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to play a greater role in helping countries hit by the market turmoil.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for action to help affected developing nations.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Beijing would take an active role at a summit of world leaders to be held in Washington next month.

Leaders attending the 43-nation Asia Europe Meeting (Asem) agreed to "undertake effective and comprehensive reform of the international monetary and financial systems".

Ban Ki-moon
[The crisis] threatens to undermine all our achievements and all our progress
Ban Ki-moon

They said they were moving towards consensus ahead of next month's summit - which will bring together the 20 largest economies in Washington.

The final statement of the two-day meeting also said: "Leaders agreed that the IMF should play a critical role in assisting countries seriously affected by the crisis, upon their request."

Speaking for the hosts, Mr Wen said financial innovation needed to be balanced with regulation.

He added: "We need to use every means to prevent the financial crisis from having an impact on the growth of the real economy."

Poverty challenge

On Friday markets fell back amid fears of a sustained global recession.

Wall Street tumbled following similar falls across Europe and Asia.

Global money markets have showed renewed signs of stress, despite the billions of dollars that central banks and governments have pumped into the markets in recent weeks.

In a meeting with heads of UN agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Mr Ban said the crisis could be the last straw for many of the world's poorest people.

"It threatens to undermine all our achievements and all our progress," he said.

"Our progress in eradicating poverty and disease. Our efforts to fight climate change and promote development. To ensure that people have enough to eat."

Mr Ban said he would put the case for the world's poor at the Washington summit.


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