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imf Wednesday, 7 October, 1998, 03:17 GMT 04:17 UK
Clinton: Act together to end crisis
President Clinton
President Clinton calls for urgent action
President Clinton has called for urgent and decisive action to stave off the world's "most serious financial crisis for half a century".

Addressing the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its sister organisation, the World Bank, he said that the financial turmoil, which has caused a quarter of the world to fall into recession, can be only be resolved with concerted global action.

Turmoil could spread

And he cautioned that the turmoil could spread unless urgent steps are taken.

President Clinton's fears about the world's economy were echoed by Michel Camdessus, head of the IMF.

He said that the whole financial system was in crisis but added that if countries held their nerve then a crisis could be averted.

However President Clinton disappointed financial markets by failing to come up with specific measures on how the world's leading nations will tackle the growing crisis.

Financial officials from around the globe have held intensive meetings in Washington over the last few days but have failed to come up with concrete plans to rescue the world economy.

Financial shake-up

President Clinton reiterated calls for modernisation and reform the international financial system for the 21st century in an effort to avoid damaging boom and bust cycles in the world economy.

He said: "I am confident that if we act together we can end the present crisis. We must take urgent steps to help those who have been hurt by it, to limit the reach of it and to restore confidence in the global economy."

President Clinton also said that the US Congress must meet its obligations to the IMF to help the fund to bail-out troubled economies.

The US Congress has so far blocked the release of an $18bn of extra funding to the IMF, which is seen as vital given the fund is in real danger of running out of money.

The president said that the key to the health of the world economy was Japan and urged the country to get on with urgent reform of its troubled banking system.

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