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Obama Holds Key Talks on Sidelines of APEC

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Pacific Rim leaders have ended their annual APEC gathering with a vow to seek a sustained economic recovery and reject protectionism.

The leaders of 21 Pacific Rim economies gathered around the conference table in Singapore.

But the big news came outside their formal sessions - in closed door meetings and one-on-one talks.

U.S. President Barack Obama focused on the sidelines, engaging in almost non-stop personal diplomacy.

Obama Discusses Climate Change

He began early Sunday, with an unexpected meeting on climate change called by the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

Over breakfast, the prime minister of Denmark urged the group to back a different approach to save the upcoming international climate conference in Copenhagen.

With negotiations on a new global climate agreement in trouble, there was consensus behind an alternative: adopt a political framework in Copenhagen and fill in the details later.

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Obama Discusses Nuclear Issues

There was also an effort to push forward talks on arms control, with President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev meeting to talk about a successor to the soon-to-expire 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Mr. Obama said he still believes they can get an agreement by the end of the year. The president said, "I am confident if we work hard, and with a sense of urgency about it that we should be able to get that done and I very much feel as if both sides are trying to work through some difficult technical issues but are doing so in good faith."

They also talked about Iran's nuclear program. President Obama urged Iran once again agree to a deal to ship its uranium out of the country for processing. "We are now running out of time with respect to that approach. And so I discussed with President Medvedev the fact that we have to continue to maintain urgency," said Mr. Obama.

President Medvedev said he still hopes to convince Iran to accept the nuclear deal. The Russian leader said, "We are prepared to work further and I hope that our joint work will yield positive results."

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Obama Discusses Burma

A short time later, Mr. Obama became the first American president to meet with all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asia nations - including Burma.

He called for political reform in Burma and the release of democracy advocate Aug San Suu Kyi, saying, "I reaffirmed the policy I put forward yesterday in Tokyo with regard to Burma."

Mr. Obama's last meeting before leaving Singapore was with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

President Obama spent a good bit of his childhood in Indonesia, and has referred to himself as America's first Pacific president.

In 2011, he will host the annual meeting of Pacific Rim leaders. And the president announced in Singapore that he plans to host the gathering in his native state, Hawaii.