Accessibility links

Obama Calls for Strong Message of Unity Ahead of G20 Summit


U.S. President Barack Obama is on his way to London, to start his first overseas trip as president. Mr. Obama's eight-day visit to Europe may be as ambitious as his domestic agenda.

The president's five-nation journey will include three summits, as well as a number of one-on-one meetings with world leaders, a major speech on arms control and an Internet discussion with young people.

First, Mr. Obama goes to London for a meeting of the world's major economic powers and some emerging economies. The so-called G20 leaders agree that something must be done about the global economic crisis, but they differ on the amount of government stimulus needed. Mr. Obama has campaigned, without much success, to get other G20 countries to spend as aggressively as he has.

"[that] the stimulus efforts of all countries are sufficiently robust to deal with the decline in demand," Mr. Obama said. "We think that is important. Countries like China, for example, are doing that."

The president said recently he will also try to persuade his fellow G-20 leaders to work together to regulate the financial markets.

"We think that it is very important that there is coordination and effort, so that if we are doing some things that are increasing transparency, openness and trust on Wall Street, that London is doing the same thing," Mr. Obama said.

In London, Mr. Obama and the other G20 leaders will be greeted with tea, cake and cookies - not by British officials, but by protesters outside the Bank of England. The demonstrators are calling Wednesday "Financial Fools Day."

Before the G20 leaders meet, Mr. Obama will have his first meeting with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev. U.S. relations with Russia deteriorated during the Bush administration, but Mr. Medvedev wrote in Tuesday's Washington Post that he is optimistic his meeting with Mr. Obama will produce a better relationship.

Mr. Obama will also meet in London with the leaders of China, India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Next, the president goes to the NATO summit on the French-German border. He will try to sell his fellow alliance leaders on the need for more support for the war in Afghanistan. Many European leaders are reluctant to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama will make a major speech on weapons proliferation when he goes to the Czech Republic. In Prague, he will go to the EU summit to discuss American plans for a missile defense system in Europe.

The president will end his trip with a visit to Turkey, the first mostly Muslim country he has visited since taking office.

Mr. Obama is popular in Europe, and new public-opinion polls show he is still well-supported at home. The Washington Post-ABC News survey shows that two-thirds of Americans polled approve of the president's job performance, and 60 percent think he is doing a good job on the economy.

Mr. Obama's wife Michelle is scheduled to make several appearances of her own in Europe, including a visit to a school for low-income girls in London.


XS
SM
MD
LG