States call for IMF 'critical role' in crisis

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Asian and European leaders are poised to call for the International Monetary Fund to play a critical role in aiding countries hardest-hit by the global financial meltdown.

The IMF and other institutions should help stabilize the current crisis: That's according to the draft of a statement to be issued at the end of a two-day gathering of representatives of 43 countries that opened in Beijing on Friday.

The draft says: "Leaders agreed that the IMF should play a critical role in assisting countries seriously affected by the crisis, upon their request."

The statement would be among the strongest calls yet for a leading role in the crisis for the Washington-based IMF.

Countries as disparate as Hungary, Ukraine, Iceland and Pakistan have already turned to the fund for help.

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