U.N. offers to host summit, Canada cautious

Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:24pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

QUEBEC CITY (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday offered French President Nicolas Sarkozy the U.N. headquarters in New York as a venue for the international summit Sarkozy is trying to organize on the financial crisis.

Canada reiterated its support for the meeting, but also sounded a note of caution, suggesting the world should not act rashly.

Ban's offer was made on the sidelines of a Quebec City summit of French-speaking nations that has been overshadowed by the global financial turbulence. Sarkozy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and others attended.

Sarkozy was scheduled to meet U.S. President George W. Bush at the presidential Camp David retreat to discuss where to hold the summit, whom to invite and what it should accomplish.

Ban offered to host the summit in a public letter to Sarkozy after a bilateral meeting with him.

"We both agree that there is no time to lose and, therefore, I fully subscribe to your idea of convening such a forum in early December at the latest," Ban wrote.

"In that respect, I am pleased to offer the facilities of the United Nations Secretariat in New York."

Ban affirmed his strong support for what he described as an "expanded, emergency" summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations.   Continued...