G-7 vows to smash terrorist financial networks
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The finance ministers from the world's seven top industrialized nations pledged Saturday they would smash the complex international financing machinery of terrorist organizations.
"We stand united in our commitment to vigorously track down and intercept the assets of terrorists and to pursue the individuals and countries suspected of financing terrorists," the ministers said in a statement at the conclusion of their meeting.
The G-7 "Action Plan" calls for each member country to ratify United Nations sanctions that order the freezing of the funds and financial assets of terrorists all around the world and to share lists of known terrorists to ensure the entire network of terrorist financing is covered.
"We ask all governments to join us in denying terrorists access to the resources that are needed to carry out evil acts," the statement said.
The ministers and their bankers also grappled with the problem of the acute global economic downturn -- the worst since the early 1970s.
The effects are especially felt in the United States, weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington left thousands dead.
"If we have any real growth, it will be very nominal, very small, and the prospect is that in fact it will be negative growth for the third quarter," said U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
But some ministers anticipated a strengthening trend.
"The fundamentals of the world economy are sound, low inflation, relatively stable and sound finances in the major industrial countries, and an ability to build from that so that the future is one that we can face with confidence," said Britain's Gordon Brown.
-- Freelance reporter Louise Schiavone contributed to this report
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