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Sarkozy: No turning our backs on the euro

 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, listens to WEF founder Klaus Schwab, on large screen, prior to delivering the opening address at the World ...
 From left, WEF founder Klaus Schwab, Chairman and CEO, JSC VTB Bank, Russia, Andrei Kostin, Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Bank and Cha...

Switzerland Davos Forum

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, listens to WEF founder Klaus Schwab, on large screen, prior to delivering the opening address at the World ...

Switzerland Davos Forum

From left, WEF founder Klaus Schwab, Chairman and CEO, JSC VTB Bank, Russia, Andrei Kostin, Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Bank and Cha...

French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed Thursday that he and European partners will "never turn our backs on the euro" despite the government debt crisis that worries investors and leaders worldwide.
Sarkozy's vigorous defense of the euro came at the World Economic Forum in this Swiss resort, where the Alpine winter calm was briefly disrupted by a small explosion at a hotel. Windows were broken but there were no injuries, Swiss police said. The cause of the blast was unclear.
Sarkozy also expressed concerns about currency imbalances and rising commodity prices, priorities as he presides over the Group of 20 leading world economies this year. But his strongest words concerned the euro, shared by 17 countries in the European Union.
"The disappearance of the euro would be so cataclysmic that we can't even possibly entertain the idea," he said.
He acknowledged months of worries about the future of the currency since the European Union and International Monetary Fund had to bail out debt-laden Greece and then Ireland.
But despite those concerns, he said, "the euro is still there."
"Europe has had 60 years of peace and therefore we will never let the euro go or be destroyed. ... I speak as much for my German friends as I do for the French," he said.
He warned that euro countries cannot continue to "mount up staggering debts without thinking about the imbalances."
JPMorgan chief executive James Dimon said governments were right to act by rescuing Ireland and Greece from default rather than risk a run on the continent's banks.
Europe "did the only good choice, which is to get through this crisis, because if you don't fix it here, you're going to fix it there, which is in the banking system," he said.
The remarks came as the euro, and Europe, captures the attention of the five-day meeting of the Forum.
Not only are participants frantically trying to make up for failing last year to predict Europe's sovereign debt crisis _ that sent the euro into freefall _ by holding back-to-back panels on the common currency and the future of the European project as a whole.
They're also feeling the currency shock in their pockets, as hotels, restaurants and bars in the Swiss ski resort of Davos do business in francs, whose value has surged against the euro in recent months.
Sarkozy has also made concerns about China's low-valued currency and the dominance of the U.S. dollar in world trade a key priority for his leadership of the G-20.
He that global currency imbalances "one of these days will bring down the whole pack of cards unless we attend to this very swiftly and very strongly." He said that other G-20 members should "understand that if these imbalances continue it will be to the detriment of one and all."
He warned of the risk on inflation and growth of the soaring prices and extreme volatility of commodities. "It's in no ones interest for hunger to rise."
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is to join European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and Nick Clegg, Britain's deputy prime minister, for a panel about the future of Europe on Thursday that is sure to focus much of its attention on the continent's economic woes.
Fear of a currency war has also crept into the debate over global trade recently, with Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming, World Trade Organization head Pascal Lamy and the World Bank's Robert Zolick taking up the issue Thursday.
There will, however, be some relief for those who want to talk about more than just the economy.
A panel on climate change hosted by The Associated Press brings together U.N. climate negotiator Christiana Figueres, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, whose country will host the next climate conference this year after last year's successful summit in Cancun.
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Matt Moore and Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report.