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  • 10/18/2008

Bush, Sarkozy to spar on finance


US President George W. Bush and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy may be headed for a Camp David clash over a global economic overhaul.

Sarkozy, joined by European Commission Chief Jose Manuel Barroso, heads to the US presidential retreat armed with a mandate from his EU colleagues to push for a top-to-bottom revamp of the world’s financial system.

But the White House has preemptively declared that the talks will yield no new policy proposals, and no date or location for a world leaders summit that the French leader hopes will generate sweeping reforms.

"I don’t believe that tomorrow night’s meeting will have any new policy announcements or any decision on a date or a location for that meeting -- although everybody is working towards that," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.

US officials say Washington and Brussels must secure advice and support from other major economies and that the incredibly complicated agenda for any summit must be worked out before the meeting is called.

Sarkozy on Thursday renewed his call for a wide-ranging summit "before the end of the year", something the White House now supports while warning that reforms cannot wait for Bush’s successor to take office in January.

However, on Friday Bush made clear that financial reforms in the United States -- without which changes overseas would likely be doomed - would not come before he hands over the keys to the White House in January.

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