World leaders meeting at the Group of 20 summit "cannot afford half-measures" as they try to hammer out ways to address the global financial crisis, President Obama said Wednesday.
Speaking after a morning meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama said G-20 delegates have “a responsibility to act with a sense of urgency” and come up with “tough new rules” for managing the world economy. “We’ve passed through an era of profound irresponsibility,” Obama said at a joint news conference. “Now, we cannot afford half-measures and we cannot go back to the kind of risk-taking that leads to bubbles that inevitably burst. So we have a choice: We either shape our future or let events shape it for us.” Leaders from the G-20, which represents the world’s leading industrial and emerging economies, will be meeting Thursday in London for a summit with financial chiefs. Watch Obama, Brown talk about global crisis » Obama, on his first overseas trip as president, said the summit cannot solve all the world’s problems, but it can make “real and unprecedented progress.” Brown and Obama praised the continuation of the “special relationship” between Britain and America, with Brown calling it resilient and constant. “Ours is not an alliance of convenience — it’s a partnership of purpose,” Brown said.
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Brown called on world leaders to cooperate in achieving five tasks at the one-day summit, starting with restoring growth to emerging market economies and agreeing to “clean up” the global banking system. There will be no sustainable recovery until a new regulatory system for the banks is put in place, Brown said. Leaders must also commit to whatever is necessary to bring about the resumption of growth, Brown said. They must kick-start global trade and resist protectionism, he said, and lastly, they must make sure that economic recovery is sustainable and keeps carbon dioxide emissions low, so as to protect the environment. “We have some tough negotiations ahead,” Brown said. “It will not be easy, but … the world does want to come together.” Obama called on leaders to reject protectionism, support emerging markets, and put in place a sustainable financial structure.
“We have a responsibility to coordinate our actions and find a common ground, not to focus on our differences,” Obama said. Watch where else Obama will go on European trip » The president added he is “absolutely confident” the meeting will reflect “enormous consensus” about the steps that are needed.