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G-7 officials vow to work to calm global markets

IQALUIT, Nunavut, Canada - Top finance officials of the world's seven major industrial countries pledged yesterday to work to calm global markets and maintain government stimulus to sustain an economic rebound.

Speaking for the group, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said leaders of the Group of Seven countries also discussed strategies they will use to withdraw stimulus once the recovery strengthens.

But Flaherty and other leaders did not indicate they were planning to propose any further stimulus beyond what they have already unveiled. They said they would push ahead with those efforts this year.

Flaherty spoke as the G-7 officials ended a two-day meeting in the Canadian Arctic. They met as financial markets were roiled this week over fears that a European debt crisis could derail the global recovery.

The Canadian finance minister said the leaders discussed the debt problem in Greece. Investors fear Greece may default or require a bailout from already strapped European governments. Those concerns are spreading to other financially troubled governments such as Portugal and Spain.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said European officials "gave us a very comprehensive review" of the crisis in Greece. "They made it clear to us that they will manage this with great care," Geithner told reporters.

The United States was also represented by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The G-7 consists of the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada.

The talks wrapped up yesterday with discussions on the global economy, banking reform and Haiti, where the G-7 countries endorsed a U.S.-backed effort to get the International Monetary Fund and other lending agencies to grant debt relief to Haiti as it struggles to recover from last month's earthquake.

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