French Finance Minister Francis Mer, hosting the meeting of the G7 powers, was at pains to say the talks would not be upset by diplomatic tensions over French and German resistance to US calls for military action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
He spoke on TV and radio as finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the other G7 countries - the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, Italy and Britain - arrived in Paris ahead of dinner talks and further debate today. With governments cash-strapped, a G7 government source said the ministers would be looking more at room for further interest rate cuts than additional government spending to boost their economies if needed. The source said the world economy was most likely to suffer if any conflict in Iraq lasted more than two or three months.
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