Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 17:13 UK

Brown to discuss crisis with Bush

Brown supports US bail-out plan

Gordon Brown is to hold talks on Friday with President Bush at the White House about the global financial crisis.

The change to the prime minister's schedule followed an invitation from the president, Downing Street said.

Mr Brown will speak to the UN General Assembly in New York in the morning and then head to Washington for the meeting at 1620 local time (2120 BST).

Mr Brown said he wanted to discuss how to back up the US's proposed $700bn package to calm the financial markets.

The prime minister told the BBC that quick action was needed to stabilise the economic situation.

Mr Brown, who is in the US with other world leaders for a UN development summit, said longer-term reforms to the world's financial system were also needed.

He said he had spoken to leaders from every continent and was gaining support for the idea of global supervision of financial markets, rather than it just being done on a national level.

He also denied aid could be hit by the turmoil - insisting Africa could be key to solving current global problems.

Proper development aid, he said, could allow Africa to produce more crops, cutting current food shortages and leading to "Africa helping to feed the world".

He also said it was in wealthier countries' security interest to boost aid to avoid resentment being bred in Africa.

Transparency

The prime minister flew to New York from the Labour Party conference in Manchester to attend the summit which is to focus on the Millennium Development Goals.

As he travelled, a YouGov poll for The Sun suggested the Conservatives' lead over Labour had halved since a similar poll on Saturday.

The internet poll sampled 1,500 people after Mr Brown's conference speech but before news of Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly's resignation broke.

It put the Tories on 41% and Labour on 31%, while the Lib Dems fell to 16%.

Nick Robinson
Gordon Brown, like presidential contender John McCain, is desperate to place himself at the centre of events
Nick Robinson
BBC political editor

Mr Brown, who has had record low approval ratings in some polls over recent months, said as leader he expected to be in "the firing line" as the economy slowed and people "started" by blaming the government.

But, he added, people were then seeing the reasons for the slowdown were global ones such as oil trebling and the US credit crunch.

The prime minister is keen to get the Millennium Development Goals back on track.

The goals, agreed by 189 heads of state in September 2000, represent a global commitment by all of the nations who signed to reduce poverty and improve lives.

There are 18 targets which are supposed to be met by 2015.

Sarah Palin

These include ensuring children are educated to primary schooling level and halving the numbers of people who contract malaria and HIV.

Mr Brown, along with Microsoft boss Bill Gates, used the summit to announce a new $3bn drive to eradicate deaths from malaria in the developing world by the 2015 deadline.

The funds, which will come from a variety of public and private sector bodies, will be used to try to develop a vaccine and pay for the distribution of bed nets and sprays.

Sarah Brown, Jordan"s Queen Rania and Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi
Sarah Brown met Jordan's Queen Rania and Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi

The drive is expected to save the lives of one million people who die from the disease every year.

The UK's support for research into malaria treatments and vaccines is to reach at least 5m a year by 2010. It has also pledged to provide up to 40m towards improving the availability of anti-malarial drugs.

The summit will also see further commitments made on the issue of education and healthcare. They include an additional $2.9bn - which includes a 50m contribution from Britain - to help 10 million children go to school.

Sarah Brown, also at the summit, co-hosted a dinner on Wednesday for influential women - including many first ladies, US vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York - to raise awareness of the need to improve childbirth support in the third world.

Other celebrities expected to be at the summit include Elle Macpherson, Bono and Bob Geldof.

Mr Brown will also be calling on major donors to make up a $700m funding gap to tackle food shortages, particularly in the Horn of Africa.


SEE ALSO
Sarahs unite for health campaign
25 Sep 08 |  UK Politics
US rivals in economy crisis talks
25 Sep 08 |  Americas
Brown's UN call on global poverty
31 Jul 07 |  UK Politics

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