Barack Obama to urge G20 leaders for more decisive action over euro and Syria


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Indy Politics

President Barack Obama arrives today in Los Cabos, Mexico, for what promises to be an unusually tense G20 summit, ready to press foreign partners to take bolder steps to tackle dual crises threatening global stability and endangering his re-election bid – the crisis in the eurozone and Syria.

As the 20 leaders sit down in the Mexican resort at the tip of Baja California with President Felipe Calderó* as their host, the agenda will be dominated by yesterday's elections in Greece, what they may augur about the euro's survival and recession in Europe.

Mr Calderón, in the twilight of power ahead of national elections in Mexico on 1 July, signalled yesterday that he expects the leaders to debate a vision of a Europe with greater integration of debt and banking regulations. "Even though we don't expect to reach specific agreements on Europe... I want to see language and promises which are much more oriented to a new, stronger Europe, a Europe of the 21st century," he said.

In a speech to 300 global business leaders in Los Cabos today, David Cameron will urge the G20 to get to grips with the five big threats –the eurozone crisis; sovereign debt; growth and low competitiveness; protectionism and failure to regulate the banking system. The Prime Minister will argue that the challenge is "one of political will as much as economics". He will warn bluntly: "If the eurozone is to stay together then it has to make at least some of these difficult decisions."

The alternative to creating a more coherent eurozone, Mr Cameron will say, is either "perpetual stagnation" from a crisis never resolved, or a single currency break-up that would "badly damage the world economy, including Britain". Mr Cameron will urge the European Central Bank and Germany to do more. "We cannot afford for central banks to stand on the sidelines if we are to deliver the growth we need," he will say. Yesterday Tony Blair said Germany would have to come "fully behind the single currency" for it to survive. "There's got to be no doubt about the depth of its commitment," he told BBC Radio 4. Mr Calderó* will ask G20 leaders to confirm commitments made in April to give the International Monetary Fund more resources to assist countries that run into debt.

Mr Obama's meeting this morning with President Putin of Russia risks being especially contentious, with little sign that they will be able to bridge their differences over Syria and how to revive Kofi Annan's peace plan, which suffered a major setback at the weekend when the mission of UN monitors was suspended.

US diplomats are hoping that the decision by Major General Robert Mood, who has led the monitors since April, to bring them back because of growing violence, will focus attention on Mr Putin. He has refused to support any attempt to force President Bashar al-Assad to accept a political transition that would force him from office.

Major General Mood said on Saturday that the status of his monitors will be reviewed daily and if conditions improve he will redeploy them. That may never happen however. He is due in New York this morning to brief the UN Security Council.