[VOA lesson 132] – World Leaders Call for Efforts to Curb Growing Global Financial Crisis

World leaders have expressed growing concern over the turbulent state of the global economy, calling for united action to stop it from worsening.  From United Nations’ headquarters in New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports on the first day of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual meeting.

World leaders have expressed growing concern over the turbulent state of the global economy, calling for united action to stop it from worsening. From United Nation’s headquarters in New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports on the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual meeting.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses members of the 63rd General Assembly the United Nations, 23 Sep 2008

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed leaders and delegates from more than 190 member states.

He presented them with his assessment of the state of the world and presented the U.N. vision for the coming year. The news was not all good.

“We face a global financial crisis,” said the U.N. chief. “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.

He urged world leaders to honor their pledges to help alleviate these and other problems, and called for a united effort to try to solve them.

The United Nations is only a few kilometers from New York’s financial district where markets fallen dramatically. Mr. Ban says the growing global financial crisis could undermine U.N. and international efforts to improve living conditions in the poorest countries.

The financial crisis was prominent in the remarks of many of the world’s leaders.

President Bush speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, 23 Sep 2008

George Bush, who made his last address to the General Assembly as U.S. president, 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. He is heard here speaking through a translator.

“A crisis of such magnitude will not be overcome with palliative measures,” said he said. “Mechanisms for both prevention and control are needed to provide total transparency to international finance.”

Turkish President Abdullah Gul expressed concern the global economic slowdown, coupled with rising energy and food prices, have brought about an even more challenging development and security environment.

“Under such circumstances, combating terrorism, racism, xenophobia, and all forms of religious discrimination and extremism takes on particular importance,” he said.

Later, the presidents of Iran, Georgia, Rwanda, Lebanon, Kenya, Bolivia and Somalia are scheduled to speak.

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