Sept. 22 - The world economy is at a critical juncture as governments need to be courageous in efforts to clean up their sovereign debt problems, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Robert Zoellick said as their annual meetings begin. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Repair. Reform. Rebalance. Rebuild. Those are the talking points at this year's annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, as highlighted at a press conference by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Of course, the European debt crisis is at the forefront, but talks have to be broadened to a wider global discussion about tackling high sovereign debt, according to Lagarde. SOUNDBITE: CHRISTINE LAGARDE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The advanced countries need fiscal consolidation and that's a matter of priority. Fiscal consolidation is a matter of priority. Equally, consolidating too fast, too heavy for some countries is going to be harmful for the potential growth that we see. So what's the option? It's not a dilemma. It's a question of timing. It's a question of confidence." Confidence that is under attack as governments across Europe face public backlash to austerity measures. But at an earlier press conference, World Bank President Robert Zoellick says world leaders have to act now to prevent the sovereign debt crisis from further damaging the world economy. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT ZOELLICK, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The world is in a danger zone. In 2008, many people said they did not see the turbulence coming. Leaders have no such excuse now and dangerous times will call for courageous people. I still think that a double dip recession for the world's major economies is unlikely, but my confidence in that belief is being eroded daily by the steady drip of difficult economic news." And as the meeting begins there are fresh signs of that so-called steady drip of difficult economic news, with data out of China, Europe and the United States - showing a world economy that is slowing down. Conway Gittens, Reuters