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Obama in Mexico for G20 Summit

  • Kent Klein

Mexican soldiers patrol the beach of San Jose del Cabo in Mexico's Baja Peninsula, Sunday, June 17, 2012. The G-20 summit starts in Los Cabos on Monday.

Mexican soldiers patrol the beach of San Jose del Cabo in Mexico's Baja Peninsula, Sunday, June 17, 2012. The G-20 summit starts in Los Cabos on Monday.

(Los Cabos, Mexico) President Barack Obama has arrived in the resort area of Los Cabos, Mexico for a summit of the leaders of the world's most influential economies.

Concerns among the Group of 20 about the economic crisis in Europe were eased slightly by the outcome of Sunday's elections in Greece.

President Obama's spokesman issued a statement late Sunday congratulating the Greek people for voting to keep in office a party that supports their country's economic bailout by other European nations.

A victory for the opposition could have led Greece to leave the eurozone, a move Obama and other world leaders had warned might lead to a deeper global economic crisis.

Global Economy Still Threatened

Even so, Europe's debt and banking problems still threaten the health of the world economy, and they will likely dominate the G20 meetings that start Monday in this Mexican seaside resort.

Mike Froman, President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics, recently predicted that the summit will focus primarily on Europe, saying, “It is the dominant risk to the global economy at the moment. And Europe is our largest trading partner and a key part of the global financial system. And therefore, it is very important to the United States and the rest of the world as they work through their issues.”

Europe's financial woes are one factor hampering the U.S. economic recovery, which, in turn, could jeopardize Obama's reelection.

Froman says the president and other G20 leaders are anxious to learn about Europe's plans. “At Los Cabos, the G20 looks forward to hearing more from the European leaders on the progress of their efforts to stabilize their banking system and promote growth, and to hear what their vision is for taking this effort toward fiscal and financial union," he said.

US Confident in Europe's Future

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a forum at the Council on Foreign Relations last week that he and other White House officials are confident that Europe will find a solution.

“My view is that they have considered this very carefully, and they have decided it is in their interest to hold it together. And what they say to us privately is they will do whatever is necessary to hold it together," said Geithner.

In addition to group meetings on this and other economic issues, Obama will meet one-on-one with several other world leaders.

President Obama is expected to meet Monday morning with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since Putin's recent return to the presidency.

Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, says the president is expected to push Putin to ease Russia's support for Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria. Rhodes admits that the issue has been a “point of difference” between Russia and the United States.

“However, we have been working to see if we can move forward in a common position with the international community in support of a political transition within Syria. Obviously, the United States believes that President Assad would need to step down as a part of that transition," he said.

Rhodes says, however, that President Obama appreciates Russia's help on Afghanistan and Iran.

Obama's first meeting on Monday will be with the summit's host, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose party is widely predicted to be defeated in elections on July 1.

The two presidents are expected to discuss the progress they have made on security and other issues during the past three years.