UNITED NATIONS: Global leaders will institutionalize the G20 as the world's main economic governing council, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said yesterday.
He said G20 leaders would meet regularly, with South Korea taking over the presidency next year.
"The G20 will take a bigger role in economic cooperation than the G8 has in the past," Brown told reporters ahead of this week's meeting of G20 leaders in Pittsburgh.
Brown said Shriti Vadera will leave her role as business minister to become Britain's G20 coordinator and work closely with South Korea.
Trade minister Mervyn Davies will take over Vadera's ministerial responsibilities.
Brown said he did not expect any discussion on the Chinese currency at this week's G20 meeting but said he would like to see China importing more.
"We would like to see China importing more from our countries," he said.
Brown noted there were $7 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves which he said were "not necessarily being used in a constructive way."
Brown said he wanted to see the International Monetary Fund (IMF) come up with an insurance scheme that would lessen some countries' need to accumulate reserves so that they could use those funds to support their economies.
Before flying to Pittsburgh later yesterday, Brown attended a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on nuclear non-proliferation.
"We are coming to a moment of truth with Iran," Brown said. "We will be proposing fuller and tougher sanctions."
Chavez lauds Obama
The last time he was here, Hugo Chavez called then US President George W. Bush "the devil," but on Wednesday Venezuela's leader offered slightly more-positive sentiments for Barack Obama.
"'The arrival of President Obama, who can deny it, generates, has generated and will continue to generate big expectations," Chavez told a meeting of US union leaders at the Venezuelan mission to the UN.
Making his address before the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Chavez praised Obama's Wednesday speech, noting that the US president said Washington is ready to work to promote peace.
But Chavez also said the White House and the foreign policy it crafts is unlikely to live up to the president's lofty words.
"Sometimes one gets the sensation that there are two Obamas. One, who gave the speech, is good. The other, really, makes decisions that are contradictory to his speech," he said.
In his words to the General Assembly, Obama pleaded for "a new era of engagement" on global problems, telling assembled world leaders that the US shouldn't pursue a go-it-alone stance.
Chavez said that when Obama talks about peace, "you have to applaud that," but added "if you are promoting peace, then why the seven military bases in Colombia?"
The US has asked Colombia for greater access to that country's military facilities, but says the proposal will not constitute a permanent presence there. Chavez isn't buying that.
"More soldiers, more weapons, more war," he said. "Don't send more soldiers, nor more bombs because what you would be doing is, well, throwing gasoline on the fire. And that effects all of us in South America."
"Obama, instead let's talk about peace. Let's set up a peace dialogue," Chavez said, later adding, "I say 'Obama, let's go Obama! Let's work truly together to promote peace! But I hope, hope, hope to God ... that Obama could become the instigator for a process of internal change."
Chavez has a history of causing a stir at the General Assembly. In 2006, he used his speech there to infamously call Bush "the devil" no less than eight times.
Chavez also provided some - but not all - of the details about ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya's cloak-and-dagger return to his homeland, where he has been holed up for days in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.