U.S. and major allies pledge coordinated financial attack
AP Economics WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States and its major allies agreed Tuesday to produce a coordinated plan to freeze assets of terrorist organizations and pledged in a joint statement to leave no stone unturned in the effort.
"Since the attacks we have all shared our national action plans to block the assets of terrorists and their associates. We will integrate those plans and pursue a comprehensive strategy to disrupt terrorist funding around the world," the group said in a joint statement.
The declaration from finance ministers from the world's seven richest countries followed by a day orders issued by President Bush to freeze financial assets in the United States belonging to Osama bin Laden and 26 other people and groups suspected of funding terrorists.
The joint statement was issued after Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill conducted a telephone conference call with other finance ministers in the Group of Seven countries.
The G-7 nations -- the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada -- said they planned to continue their discussions at a meeting of finance ministers and central bank presidents from their countries to be held in the United States in early October.
Japanese officials told reporters in Tokyo that the meeting was expected to be held Oct. 6 in Washington.
The joint statement said that while the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will delay the U.S. economic recovery, the finance ministers declared that "our economic policies and fundamentals remain strong and we expect a near-term return to sustained economic growth and stable financial markets."
The statement expressed support for the actions taken by individual countries in recent days to disrupt terrorist financing and called on all nations to join in the effort.
The financial officials pledged to more vigorously implement U.N. sanctions against terrorist financing and said that the whole issue would be incorporated into studies under way on how to improve the functioning of the global economy.
"We will meet in the United States in early October to review economic developments and ensure that no stone gets unturned in our mutual efforts to wage a successful global campaign against the financing of terrorism," the finance ministers said.
Bush in his order Monday said foreign banks that did not cooperate could have their own transactions in the United States blocked.
By cutting off funds to terrorists, the Bush administration hopes to choke off financial support for bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
In the conference call, Japanese Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa briefed his counterparts on Japan's decision Saturday to freeze financial assets of organizations with suspected terrorist links, an official of the Finance Ministry told reporters in Tokyo.
The G-7 officials had originally been scheduled to meet in Washington on Sept. 28 before the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. However, that session was canceled after the IMF and World Bank meetings were called off in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.