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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
World Bank and IMF cancel talks
Anti-globalisation protests
Organisers were expecting anti-globalisation protests
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have cancelled their annual meetings in Washington, following last week's terror attack on the American capital.

The normal business of the bank and the fund will not be interrupted

IMF/World Bank

The decision to cancel was taken on security grounds, with the sessions due to have been attended by finance ministers and heads of state from around the world.

The meeting had been expected to focus on how to avoid a global recession - a situation likely to be made worse by the events of the past week.

Protests from anti-globalisation groups had been expected.

'Alternative arrangements'

In a joint statement, World Bank President James Wolfensohn and IMF managing director Horst Kohler said:

"In consultation with the US authorities and other member governments, the World Bank Group and the IMF have decided not to hold their annual meetings on 29-30 September.

"The normal business of the bank and the fund will not be interrupted."

Police resources

The IMF said "alternative arrangements for conducting the required business of the meetings will be determined.

"We expect to return to the normal schedule for Bank and Fund meetings in 2002.

"This decision was taken out of deepest respect and sympathy for the families of all those touched by the horrific events of last Tuesday."

The delay would also allow police to focus "fully to the extraordinary and immediate priorities at hand", the statement said.

There was no word on a meeting of central bankers and finance ministers from the G7 group of industrialized countries, which had been due to meet in Washington on the same weekend.

Should it be necessary to move that meeting, Italy has offered to substitute as host.

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