Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The British prime minister Gordon Brown, centre, walks with Saudi officials on his arrival at King Saud university in Riyadh today.
The British prime minister Gordon Brown, centre, walks with Saudi officials on his arrival at King Saud university in Riyadh today.

Brown confident of Saudi funds

The British prime minister, during the first stop of a Gulf tour, said he expected Saudi to contribute to the IMF's bailout reserves.

RIYADH // The British prime minister Gordon Brown said today he expected Saudi Arabia to contribute to the International Monetary Fund's bailout reserves after he promised business leaders in the Gulf they would have a say in any future new world economic order. Mr Brown, who will stop in Qatar today and Abu Dhabi and Dubai on tomorrow and Tuesday respectively, is seeking additional funds to buttress the International Monetary Fund amid the worsening world financial crisis, which has struck the economies of Eastern Europe especially hard.

He is leading calls for oil-rich Middle Eastern countries to be among the biggest donors to the IMF's coffers, which at US$250 billion have already been depleted by emergency cash calls from Iceland, Hungary and the Ukraine totalling $30 billion. "The Saudis will, I think, contribute so we can have a bigger fund worldwide," he said after a meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and making a direct plea for Gulf state support when speaking with business leaders early today. When asked about whether other Gulf countries would contribute to an IMF fund: "Yes, I think people want to invest in helping the world through this very difficult period of time."

Analysts have argued that Gulf states will feel little impetus to bolster the IMF fund, given its domination by the United States and the G7 industrialised nations. Kuwait's finance minister, Mostafa al-Shimali, told Al Anbaa daily in comments published today that Kuwait was prepared to listen to what Mr Brown had to offer. "The matter of supporting world markets depends on investment opportunities on offer and their possible returns," he said.

Any funds from Gulf states are unlikely to be pledged before a meeting of G-20 nations to hammer out potential reform of the global financial system to prevent a repeat of the current crisis, scheduled for Nov 15 in Washington DC, which will also be attended by King Abdullah. "I believe that your country has a crucial role to play and your voice must be heard," Mr Brown earlier told business leaders in a breakfast address on the first stop of a tour of the Gulf.

The business secretary Peter Mandelson, who is travelling with Mr Brown and a delegation of more than 20 senior British executives, said that the British prime minister's 20-minute one-on-one chat with King Abdullah stressed the importance of the situation. "They are getting each other on to the same page of analysis and the agreed response and Saudi Arabia's active participation in getting the world through this first financial crisis of the global age," said Mr Mandelson.

"But that is a process, not an event." Mr Brown said that the Middle East "will want to invest both in helping the world get through this very difficult period of time but I also think people want to work with us so we are less dependent on oil and have more stability in oil prices." Mr Brown, who has drawn ire from some oil producing states for criticising a recent decision by Opec to cut production to lift prices, told business leaders here that it was in everyone's interest to have a stable crude price. He said that the meeting of oil producers and consumers led by King Abdullah in Jeddah in July "broke new ground in recognising ... that we have common interests as producers and consumers in more stable energy prices and the need for a sustainable transition to a more low carbon emissions economy for the longer-term."

Opec last month cut oil production by 1.5 billion barrels per day to lift the oil price, warning that investment in key production was under threat because of the sharp drop in the price from a high of $147 at the time of the Jeddah summit in July to less than $70 currently. *AP/Reuters

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National