ASEM leaders urge reforms amid gloom

BEIJING, Oct 25, 2008 (AFP) - World leaders today called for an urgent overhaul of international financial systems after another day of steep stock market falls led to renewed panic over the slumping global economy.

Asian and European leaders meeting here promised wide-ranging and effective reforms, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also called for quick and meaningful change.

“Leaders pledged to undertake effective and comprehensive reform of the international monetary and financial systems,” the 40-member Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) said in a statement released late Friday.

“They agreed to take quickly appropriate initiatives in this respect, in consultation with all stakeholders and the relevant international financial institutions.”

Leaders also called on the International Monetary Fund to “play a critical role” in helping countries most in trouble, should they ask for assistance.

Ban joined chief executives of key UN institutions in urging coordinated and effective change when leaders of 20 industrialised and emerging powers meet in Washington on November 15.

“The market and regulatory failures that have led to this (financial) crisis must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” a joint statement from the UN summit said.

“We reaffirm the need for meaningful, comprehensive and well-coordinated reform of the international financial system and pledge our support to this end.”The fresh calls for action came after a slew of gloomy corporate and economic news pushed markets into further losses, with Tokyo's dizzying 9.6 percent slump spilling over to Europe, where London's FTSE plunged 5.0 percent.

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