Sarkozy vows 'responsibility and realism' as G20 chairman

12th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The G20's incoming chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, vowed Friday to guide the grouping of major advanced and emerging economies with "responsibility and realism".

At a news conference in Seoul as the G20's latest summit ended, Sarkozy said the tasks facing the French presidency were "colossal" but pledged to work "hand in hand" with the International Monetary Fund on global reforms.

Sarkozy said he would meet Dominique Strauss Kahn -- the IMF's managing director and a domestic political rival -- in December, before explaining France's G20 ambitions more fully in a January announcement.

The French president has previously said his main ambition will be international monetary reform, which he wants leaders to debate "without taboos" despite high tensions over currencies at this week's summit.

Other goals he has set include stabilising commodity prices after food riots in Haiti and Africa in 2008, and reforming global governance -- including IMF reform and giving Africa a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

G20 nations agreed Friday to avoid tit-for-tat currency devaluations, develop guidelines to prevent trade imbalances and push ahead with new regulations on "too big to fail" banks, after two days of heated debate.

The US had wanted countries to commit to ambitious current account targets to end trade imbalances. But it faced stiff, China-led opposition from major exporters that also included Brazil and Germany.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the G20 grouping was no longer in its "heroic phase" after its elevation in 2008 to the main forum for fighting the global financial crisis.

© 2010 AFP

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