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G20 Summit Contacted by U.S. President-Elect
    2008-11-16 01:45:37     Xinhua
A financial summit held in Washington on Saturday that gathered leaders from the world's 20 richest and emerging economies is also contacted by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama through his bipartisan senior advisors.

With more than two months before he is sworn in to the White House, Obama insisted keeping distance from the summit despite invitation from President George W. Bush.

"He's very interested and thought it was very good to have the meeting," said his senior Robert Gibbs before the summit. "But in a phrase you'll hear in exceedingly large numbers of times between now and the 20th of January, there's only one president at a time. "

However, he can hardly stay outside when the U.S. government transition coincides with the significant international event to stop the global economy from sliding into deeper end.

Besides listening to briefings by the White House on the summit, Obama's office also sent a bipartisan team of senior advisors to the summit, creating a sideline diplomatic stage that is as shining as the main one.

Former U.S. State Secretary Madeleine Albright in the Clinton administration and Jim Leach, a former Republican congressman, have started "shuttle diplomacy" even before the summit commenced.

According to Obama's transition office, the two "envoys" met Thursday with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and senior government advisers from India and Russia.

They also held meeting on Friday with Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as senior government officials from Canada and Germany.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as senior advisers from Britain, Italy and Japan were also on their meeting list for Saturday, the day for the G20's formal talks.

The Democrat senator from Illinois has sharply criticized Bush' s economic policies during his 22-month-long campaign and said they had set the stage for the financial crisis.

As the White House residents change on Jan. 20, 2009, it was expected by economists that the United States is veering to another direction to lead the country out of the ongoing financial crisis.

For example, Obama and Democratic-dominant Congress have demanded the second fiscal stimulus while the Bush administration has been mum on the measure.

In another case, Bush is pushing for a commitment to free trade in the summit communique, but Obama has reserved his support for some of the trade deals negotiated under Bush's watch.

"Clearly it is not helpful" that the United States is in the midst of a presidential transition, said a senior French official to the Washington Post. "But the feeling is we could not wait longer."

Brazilian Foreign Minister Guido Manteiga also said he expected President-elect Barack Obama would implant a more robust stimulus package and go "deeper, deeper" by the proposals he made during the election.

White House officials also acknowledged to U.S. media that any action plan yielding from the summit to solve the financial crisis would probably have to be considered at another summit of the leaders next year when Obama takes office.

It is the first time for the G20, which usually brought together finance ministers and central bankers at annual meetings, to hold a summit in view of the worse economic crisis since 1930s.

The G20, an informal arena to facilitate dialogue between major industrial and emerging-market countries on key issues related to global economic stability, was founded on Sept. 25, 1999 in Washington.

It serves as an international forum of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries -- Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States -- the European Union and the Bretton Woods Institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
 
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