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World Leaders Gather for G20 Economic Summit

General view of a G8 summit working session at the Deerhurst Resort in Hunstville, Ontario, 26 Jun 2010
General view of a G8 summit working session at the Deerhurst Resort in Hunstville, Ontario, 26 Jun 2010

June 27, 2010

(KATAKAMI / VOA) World leaders have gathered in Toronto for the Group of 20 summit to discuss how to sustain the still-fragile global economic recovery.

A draft communiqué for Sunday’s summit says the top industrialized and emerging nations have had good results from their efforts so far, but notes that “serious challenges remain.”

The G20 leaders say the recovery is “uneven and fragile,” with unemployment in many countries at unacceptable levels.  The group also says work is needed to reform financial institutions.

On Saturday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged world leaders to find the correct balance between economic stimulus and deficit reduction.  He said Japan and some European countries must do more to boost domestic demand rather than just trying to cut their budgets.

He made the comments in Toronto ahead of a working dinner hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, attended by U.S. President Barack Obama and other G20 leaders.

Mr. Obama and others say they are concerned that cutting spending too drastically could stifle economic growth.

Protesters faced off with police Saturday in Toronto, smashing storefronts and torching police cars.  At least 130 people were arrested.  Canada has spent more than $1 billion on security for the two summits taking place in the country.

The G20 summit follows a 2-day meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations in Muskoka, north of Toronto.

The G8 leaders issued a final statement Saturday condemning North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean navy ship, which left 46 sailors dead.  The G8 also repeated its call for Iran’s leaders to do more to respect freedom of expression and the rule of law.

After the G8 Mr. Obama flew to Toronto by helicopter with British Prime Minister David Cameron.  President Obama also held one-on-one meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, among others.

In addition to the G8 nations – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia – the larger G20 includes Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the European Union.

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