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Leaders gather in Washington for crisis summit

 Leaders gather in Washington for crisis summit
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World leaders have begun arriving in Washington for this weekend’s crucial summit on the global financial crisis.

More than twenty nations, including all the G7 members and the main emerging nations like China and India, will sit down to discuss how to shore up faltering financial systems and consumer confidence.

President George Bush outlined the agenda on the eve of the event: “Tomorrow’s discussion will be the first in a series of meetings. We will focus on five key objectives; understanding the cause of the global crisis; reviewing the effectiveness of our responses so far; identifying principles for reforming our financial and regulatory systems; launching a specific action plan to implement those principles, and reaffirming our conviction that free market principles offer the surest path to lasting prosperity. All the nations must reject calls for protectionism, collectivism and defeatism in the face of our current challenge.”

Bush will urge world leaders not to veer too heavily towards government interference in free markets.

But analysts say the dismantling of capitalism has already begun.

With the Eurozone officially in recession both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have advocated bold reforms, including strict restrictions on executive pay.

Barack Obama will not be attending the summit. He said there can only be one president at a time. But some members of his transition team might be there.