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Economic Powers Encouraged, Pledge More Cooperation


Finance ministers from the world's leading economic powers say there are signs the global recession may be starting to ease.

Members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations met in Washington Friday, reaffirming their commitment to work together to lift the world out of recession and predicting a weak recovery will start to take hold in the coming months.In a joint statement, the G7 ministers said recent data suggests the pace of economic decline appears to be slowing.

But U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned that what he called "the darkness that descended on the global economy" is far from over. Geithner says countries must continue to push economic stimulus plans and ensure that consumers and businesses have access to loans.

Geithner repeated warnings that nations must work to make sure their recoveries are driven by domestic growth, and are not overly dependent on spending by U.S. consumers.Geithner and the other G7 ministers -- from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan -- also pledged to work on reforming the global financial infrastructure to prevent "a crisis of this magnitude from occurring again." Geithner said the United States will make several new proposals in the coming weeks.

Earlier Friday, IMF Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky warned the global economic decline could still persist for several months, while other IMF officials said the major economic powers need to do more to repair the banking system. The U.S. Federal Reserve (U.S. central bank) Friday began briefing the 19 largest U.S. banks on the results of so-called stress tests, designed to determine if the institutions need bailout money.

The results of the tests have not yet been made public.The U.S. Treasury secretary is also meeting with ministers from the Group of 20, which includes economic powers and emerging economies. Finance ministers are scheduled to meet Saturday and Sunday to discuss IMF global operations and World Bank anti-poverty programs. World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin says the global economic slowdown has trapped 100 million people in poverty.

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