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Brown urges Gulf funding for IMF
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  Article Date:
November 03, 2008


The Gulf tour by the British prime minister has led to Saudi Arabia and Qatar saying that they are willing to increase their co-operation to contain any further spread of the global credit crisis.

Gordon Brown said after meeting Saudi King Abdullah that he is confident that the kingdom will contribute to the International Monetary Fund's reserves to help countries affected by the global credit crisis.

After holding talks with Brown in Doha on Sunday, the Qatari prime minister said his country is keen to work together with other nations to fix the credit crisis.

But Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani also said that too much focus has been put on the potential of the Gulf states bailing out Western countries with which they have few ties.

"I think there is a misunderstanding, nobody here is seeking help more than co-operation between us and Britain or any other friendly countries," he said.

"We are sharing the same world and we are sharing the same principles ... and I think we should look how we can help this economic crisis.

"Qatar is not excluded."

Depleted reserves

Brown is using his four-day tour of the Gulf to call on the oil-exporting countries to be among the biggest donors to the IMF's coffers, which at $250bn have already been depleted by emergency cash calls from Iceland, Hungary and the Ukraine totalling $30bn.

The Middle East has significant foreign-exchange reserves thanks to high oil prices, Brown said.

After a three-hour meeting with Abdullah late on Saturday, Brown said: "The Saudis will, I think, contribute so we can have a bigger fund worldwide."

A senior British government source, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to comment, said that during the talks the Saudis had been concerned about becoming a "milk cow" to prop up "basket-case" economies in other parts of the world.

Brown will visit the UAE on the final leg of his tour.

'Seat at the table'

Brown has been eager to win favour with Arab states by stressing that they have not been represented enough on international bodies and promising them a "seat at the table" as world leaders draw up plans for new international financial regulation.

The trip is something of a precursor to a summit of world leaders in Washington DC on November 15 to discuss the international financial situation, including contributions to the IMF.

Brown has criticised the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' recent decision to cut oil production in an effort raise prices. He was expected to highlight these concerns on the tour.  

Within six months, oil prices have fallen by more than a half to less than $70 in the past couple of weeks.

 Source: Agencies