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Worst may be over, say G7 finance ministers

Washington: Finance leaders from the world's top seven industrialised nations have pledged to cooperate on efforts to lift the global economy out of its worst recession since the 1930s even as they suggested the worst phase may be over. "Recent data suggest that the pace of decline in our economies has slowed and some signs of stabilisation are emerging," the Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers and central bankers said in a joint statement after a meeting here on Friday. "We will continue to act, as needed, to restore lending, provide liquidity support, inject capital into financial institutions, protect savings and deposits and address impaired assets. "We reaffirm our commitment to take all necessary actions to ensure the soundness of systemically important institutions," the statement said suggesting the global economy will "begin to recover later this year." "As our leaders underscored in London (at the G-20 meeting), we are committed to act together to restore jobs and growth and to prevent a crisis of this magnitude from occurring again," they said. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who hosted the meeting, said: "We are right to be somewhat encouraged, but we would be wrong to conclude that we are close to emerging from the darkness that descended on the global economy early last fall." The G7, which comprises the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, met a day before the International Monetary Fund and World Bank begin their twice-yearly meetings. The larger G20 group, which includes major emerging powers such as India, China, Russia, and Brazil, held a dinner meeting, also hosted by Geithner, after the G7 but issued no official statement. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia represented India at the G 20 meeting. Geithner hammered home the need for nations to work together because of the complex links among national economies. "I think we all recognize that the recovery of the world depends on recovery of the United States," he said. "Recovery in the United States depends on recovery in the financial systems. But our recovery, in part, will depend on the strength of what we see happening around the world." (IANS)