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Sarkozy threatens G20 walkout if no bonus deal

FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to walk out of the summit of Group of 20 leaders in Pittsburgh next week if there is no agreement on bank bonuses, daily Le Figaro reported today.

"If there is no concrete decision, I will leave," the paper quoted Sarkozy as saying.

It did not describe the context in which the remark was made but Sarkozy's chief of staff Claude Gueant told RTL radio that the president was "extremely determined" to secure a deal.

"It should be taken seriously," Gueant said of the threat, which echoes similar French demands before previous international crisis meetings.

Sarkozy has led a push by European leaders to limit bonuses paid to bankers and wants to persuade the G20 as a whole to adopt a common front on the issue.

He unveiled rules before last week's meeting of G20 finance ministers, aimed at curbing the bonuses earned by financial market traders, saying French banks must adopt the rules or be excluded from state mandates for operations such as privatization.

Speaking on French radio, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said bonuses would be a key issue at the summit on September 24-25, although limiting excessive payments would not be the only means to creating a more stable financial system.

"It's the most visible point because public opinion is shocked by this issue of bonuses and rightly so," he told France Info radio.

"So we should start by tackling this point because there is pressure from public opinion but it isn't the only solution, there are other technical elements of the same kind," he said.


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