G20 Leaders Meeting at Mexican Seaside Resort

Posted June 18th, 2012 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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World leaders gathered Monday at the Mexican seaside resort of Los Cabos, with Europe's debt crisis and the deepening violence in Syria atop their agenda at the two-day G20 summit.

On the summit sidelines, U.S. President Barack Obama was set to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a new effort to seek bolder European action to resolve the governmental debt crisis in the 17-nation euro currency bloc. Even as Greek leaders moved to form a new coalition government after Sunday's parliamentary elections, there were new concerns about Spain's surging borrowing costs.

The American leader also planned a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with talks focused on the worsening bloodshed in Syria and Russia's support of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin have had a prickly relationship of late, with the U.S. leader pointedly delaying a customary congratulatory call to his Russian counterpart after his May election. Later last month, Mr. Putin stayed home rather then attend a Group of Eight meeting Mr. Obama hosted at his presidential retreat near Washington.

Ahead of the summit meeting, U.S. deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said he expected Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin would “be able to sustain cooperation in some areas,” while disagreeing on others. But he pledged the U.S. would “work to try to bridge those differences.”

The G20 host, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, said the world leaders need to firm up their $430 billion in pledges for a new account the International Monetary Fund created in April as a eurozone rescue fund for its debt-ridden countries. Some countries have yet to fully commit money for the bailout account.

Recent gatherings of the G20, with leaders from the world's leading economies, have been consumed with details of the European financial crisis, amid fears that an economic collapse on the continent would quickly spread across the globe.

But representatives of some non-governmental agencies are also pressing the heads of state to not overlook the plight of poor, non-industrialized countries, where most of the world's neediest people live.