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French Minister: No One To Blame For Financial Crisis

Finance Minister Christine Lagarde made her remarks while in Washington for a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Friday no one was to blame for the deepening global financial crisis and it was pointless to try to assign responsibility.

She said a series of events precipitated the crisis, and the first lesson that governments, regulators and the private sector should learn is humility.

In Washington for a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, Lagarde said resolving the crisis will require a coordinated, synchronized and well-timed approach using a combination of tools and methods, while recognizing that all nations are in this together.

She said the world economy has not been brought to its knees because many firms in many countries continue to manufacture and sell their products.

Lagarde had told French radio earlier this week that allowing the failure of a major bank like Lehman Brothers was like letting a domino fall, which ran the risk of the entire financial system collapsing.

When asked if the U.S. was to blame for the crisis, she told the Council on Foreign Relations, "I'm not in the blame game and it is pointless to do so. The first lesson to be learned is humility."

Lagarde said the international community will have plenty of time to learn lessons to try to prevent a crisis from recurring. But, she said, what is needed now is a "coordinated, synchronized and rightly timed approach" involving developed nations and those countries with rapidly growing economies playing an increasing role in the global financial system.

She said she did not know when an economic summit proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and supported by U.S. President George W. Bush will take place, but careful preparation will be needed to get results.

Bush will meet Saturday with Lagarde and other finance ministers attending the G-7 meeting to discuss the economic crisis.

Speaking in English, Lagarde also said generous compensation packages for financial executives need to be reviewed to ensure that they do not have mechanisms which encourage irresponsible behavior and abusive speculation.

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