Leaders Call for Efforts to Curb
Growing Global Financial
By Margaret Besheer
(VOA) — World leaders have expressed growing concern over
the turbulent state of the global economy, calling for united
action to stop
United Nations’ headquarters in New York.
Ban Ki-moon opened the meeting warning that the world faces
multiple crises and urged the international community to take
approach in resolving them.
"We face a global financial crisis," said Ban Ki-moon. "A
global energy crisis. A global food crisis. Trade talks have
collapsed, yet again. We have seen new outbreaks of war and violence,
new rhetoric of confrontation. Climate change ever more clearly
threatens our planet."
Nations is only a few kilometers from New York’s financial
district where markets have fallen dramatically. Mr.
Ban cautioned that the growing global financial crisis could
undermine U.N. and international efforts to improve living conditions
in the poorest countries.
That concern was reflected in the remarks of several heads of
state who took the podium on Tuesday. But President Bush, who
made his last address to the
General Assembly, sought to reassure the international community. He said his
administration has taken "bold steps" to prevent a severe disruption
of the American economy, which could have a devastating effect on other economies
around the world.
"I can assure you that my administration and our Congress are working together
to quickly pass legislation approving this strategy," said President Bush.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking in his capacity as
European Union President, proposed a G-8 summit to tackle the
crisis, while his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula Da
Silva, urged reform of multi-lateral economic bodies.
During the assembly’s afternoon session, the presidents of Kenya
and Lebanon – two nations recovering from political crises –
pledged to work through their difficulties.
While Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili urged the international
community not to remain silent in the face of Russia’s invasion
of his country last month, saying if the United Nations does
not stand up to such military action it would be weakened as
"If, however, we fail to rise to the challenge, I fear
that the violence and tactics that subverted state sovereignty
in Georgia will spread to other parts of the world," said
Mikheil Saakashvili. "It is our collective responsibility
to respond with conviction and resolve."
Russian forces routed Georgian troops trying to retake the breakaway
province of South Ossetia from pro-Russian separatists. Moscow’s
troops continue to occupy South Ossetia and another separatist
The General Assembly also heard from Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, who in a lengthy discourse on religion, justice
and his dislike of Israel, also reiterated his government’s position
that Iran has a legal right to peaceful nuclear technology.