Friday, April 3, 2009

World at 'turning point'

President Barack Obama speaking in a news conference where he praised G-20 nations for rejecting protectionism among other things. He said that the summit was a 'turning point' in the pursuit of global economic recovery. -- PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON - CONDUCTING his first international summit, President Barack Obama hailed agreements at the emergency meeting of world powers on Thursday as a 'turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery.'

The new US leader said the heads of industrial countries that met in London agreed on 'unprecedented steps to restore growth and prevent a crisis like this from happening again.'

Mr Obama called the one-day London gathering 'very productive' and historic because of the scope of the challenges the world faces in righting the economic crisis that's wreaking havoc on virtually every country.

'The challenge is clear. The global economy is contracting,' Mr Obama said.

In a news conference packed with media from across the world, Mr Obama also praised the G-20 nations for rejecting protectionism that hampers foreign trade and could deepen the economic crisis, and he urged global unity, saying, 'We owe it to all of our citizens to act.'

He said the document the G-20 produced and actions that will follow 'reflect a range of our priorities.'

'We wanted to make sure we had a strong, coordinated response to growth' and 'we thought it was important we had a strong, coordinated regulatory response,' Mr Obama said - and added that both were achieved.

When asked, however, he could not point to an individual summit accomplishment that would help recession-battered Americans beyond general points such as fighting protectionism and making the global economy work together.

'This is not a panacea, but it is a criticial step,' Mr Obama said.

He declined to specify where the White House compromised, saying the final communique reflected a consensus of world leaders.

'Each country has its own quirks or issues that a leader may decide was really, really important,' Mr Obama said.

He said he was committed to 'forging a consensus instead of dictating our terms' and argued that the US acting alone would only be 'half-way effective, not even half.' -- AP

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