U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the most important task for world leaders gathered at an economic summit in France was to resolve the European financial crisis.
He said the European Union had taken important steps toward a solution, but “we’re going to have to flesh out more of the details about how the plan will be fully and decisively implemented.”
Speaking alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy after the two met privately on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit of leading world economies on Thursday, Mr. Obama said they discussed developments in Greece “and how we can work to help resolve that situation.”
Greece is in political upheaval after its Prime Minister shocked Europe by calling for a popular vote on the European bailout plan. But after the meeting with Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Obama didn’t give any details on what the U.S. might do in concert with its European allies.
“The United States will continue to be a partner with the Europeans to resolve these challenges,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Sarkozy said that “We’re trying to build the unity of the G-20.” He said the top issue is economic stability, “in particular the issue of the Greek crisis”
As the global economic meeting was getting under way at this seaside resort, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was facing a revolt in Athens over his planned referendum on the country’s hard-won international bailout package. He convened a Cabinet session for later in the day and was facing a confidence vote on Friday.
Mr. Papandreou’s move infuriated European leaders and rocked financial markets worldwide, jeopardising the long-sought deal to resolve Europe’s debt crisis.
Hours before the opening of the G-20 Summit, leaders of emerging giants Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) met in Cannes to chalk out a common stand on major issues facing the world, including the Eurozone debt crisis.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao and South Africa President Jacob Zuma met at Hotel Carlton here in this French coastal resort prior to the meeting of the world’s biggest economies.