If economic worries were not enough, delegates from 184 nations attending the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank will also have to confront protesters who are vowing to shut down the US capital to demonstrate their unhappiness over such issues as economic globalisation and a possible US war with Iraq.
Officials at the IMF and World Bank say they are praying that the protests remain peaceful but local authorities say 1,700 police will be on hand, just in case, to patrol a security perimeter around the downtown headquarters of the IMF and World Bank just three blocks from the White House.
IMF managing director Horst Koehler and World Bank president James Wolfensohn have both said protesters should realise that their two institutions are committed to making sure all nations can enjoy the benefits of an increasingly interconnected global economy.
The process of globalisation needs to be strengthened and its benefits broadened, but it should not be reversed, Kenneth Rogoff, chief economist at the IMF, told reporters Wednesday.
IMF has put forward a dramatic proposal that will be considered by delegates during the weekend discussions to allow countries facing unsustainable debt burdens to essentially declare bankruptcy and force their creditors to provide easier repayment terms. (Agencies)