Brown urges Obama to lead global change

Britain's Prime Minister has hailed US president-elect Barack Obama as a source of "hope and inspiration" for the world, and urged him to lead a new era of cooperation and help create a new world order out of the global financial crisis.


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged US president-elect Barack Obama to lead a new era of US cooperation Monday, to help fashion a changed world order out of the global financial crisis.

In a keynote foreign policy speech, Brown hailed Obama as a source of "hope and inspiration," and said economic hardship should also allow world powers to find new ways to work together.

"Just days ago, across the Atlantic, our closest ally gave new meaning to its founding creed that all are created equal. Gave new strength to the notion that the American dream is for all Americans," he said.

"Whatever one's politics, it can surely only be a source of hope and inspiration that a nation which once would have looked at Barack Obama and defined him only by his colour today sees in him the man they want to be their president and commander-in-chief," he added.

And he said: "As America stands at this new dawn of hope -- so let that hope be fulfilled through a pact with the wider world to lead and shape the 21st century as the first century of a truly global society."

Ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 nations (G20) next weekend, Brown repeated a call for reform of the global financial system and said recent joint action on interest rates and banks showed the potential of wider multilateralism.

This year should not be remembered simply for the failure represented by the crisis, he said, but for the way countries reacted, how "we discovered and refashioned the global power of nations working together".

"While I see a world that is facing financial crisis and still diminished by conflict and injustice, I also see the chance to forge a new multilateralism that is both hard-headed and progressive," Brown said.

"And if we learn from our experience of turning unity of purpose into unity of action, we can together seize this moment of change in our world to create a truly global society."

Leaders of the G20, which includes the seven leading economies and key developing ones, will meet at a summit on Saturday in Washington.

Brown said the group "must use the power of multilateralism to establish a global consensus on a new, decisive and systemic approach to strengthening the global economy".

It must ensure banks begin lending to families and businesses again, improve coordination of fiscal and monetary policy, act to stop smaller economies being submerged by the crisis and reach a global trade deal, he said.

And it must develop a new financial system "based on the principles of transparency, integrity, responsibility, sound banking practice and global governance with co-ordination across borders."

This would deliver "an early warning system and a crisis prevention mechanism for the whole world," the prime minister said.

"I believe that with the far-sighted leadership we have in Europe, the whole of Europe can and will work closely with the rest of the world to meet the great challenges which will illuminate our convictions and test our resolution".

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