Gordon Brown on 'Economic Hurricane'

In speech to Congress, British PM pledges renewed global cooperation.

ByABC News
March 3, 2009, 11:07 AM

March 4, 2009— -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the world is facing "an economic hurricane" that can only be addressed by global cooperation.

"Sometimes the reality is that defining moments of history come suddenly and without warning," Brown said in an address to Congress today. "An economic hurricane has swept the world, creating a crisis of credit and of confidence."

Brown called the global recession a new priority "for our new times."

"I come now to talk of new and different battles we must fight together; to speak of a global economy in crisis and a planet imperiled," he said. "And if perhaps some once thought it beyond our power to shape global markets to meet the needs of people, we know now that is our duty; we cannot and must not stand aside."

In particular, Brown implored nations at the G20 meeting in April to agree on "standards for accountability and "transparency" to "apply to every bank, everywhere, and all the time" to bring about "an end to the excesses."

He also spoke about the need for a worldwide lowering of interest rates and a renewed international economic cooperation.

"We should seize the moment, because never before have I seen a world so willing to come together," he said. "Never before has that been more needed. And never before have the benefits of cooperation been so far reaching."

Brown said that "now more than ever, the rest of the world wants to work with [the United States]" and called the partnership between the United States and Great Britain an "unbreakable" alliance.

"Alliances can wither or be destroyed, but partnerships of purpose are indestructible. Friendships can be shaken, but our friendship is unshakeable. Treaties can be broken but our partnership is unbreakable. And I know there is no power on Earth than can drive us apart."

He said his belief that the United States and the world can educate and work their way out of the current situation "is not blind optimism or synthetic confidence to console people; it is the practical affirmation for our times of our faith in a better future."

Speaking about that future, he also called for "a historic agreement on climate change."

"I believe that you, the nation that had the vision to put a man on the moon, are also the nation with the vision to protect and preserve our planet Earth," he said. "And it is only by investing in environmental technology that we can end the dictatorship of oil, and it is only by tackling climate change that we create the millions of new green jobs we need."

Brown pledged that Britain would work tirelessly with the United States on the peace process in the Middle East and the shared goal of a two-state solution to secure a safe Israel "existing side by side with a viable Palestinian state."

"And our shared message to Iran is simple," he said. "We are ready for you to rejoin the world community. But first, you must cease your threats and suspend your nuclear program."