Obama Calls for Strong Message of Unity Ahead of G20 Summit

WASHINGTON (RPRN) 03/31/09-U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for a strong message of unity at this week’s London summit of the world’s 20 biggest economies. He flies to London Tuesday for his first European trip since becoming president 10 weeks ago.

Even as Mr. Obama prepares for the trip, he is being confronted with emerging differences about how to tackle the global financial crisis.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the possibility Monday that he might walk out on the summit, saying he will not accept a summit that produces nothing more than what he called “false success.”

France, as well as some other European nations, are demanding much tougher financial regulation, while the U.S. and Britain want nations to boost spending to help spark an economic recovery.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insists in an interview with the Financial Times, the gap between the U.S., France, Germany and China is “very small.”
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Geithner says, like European countries, the U.S. wants a more robust and stable global financial system.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday the G20 economies were making good progress ahead Thursday’s summit in London.

A draft communiqué obtained by Reuters says the group will give more money to the International Monetary Fund to lend to poor nations hit by the economic turmoil.

The document says major economies also will refrain from protectionist trade policies and currency devaluations that could hurt recovery prospects of other countries. It does not mention any plans for additional government spending to boost global demand.

Russia is expected to call for reforms of the global financial system to give developing countries a greater say in international institutions.

Russian officials say President Dmitri Medvedev also will propose creating a new currency system for international finance that does not rely on the dollar.

The G20 members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.