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At G-20 summit, Obama pledges partnership in tackling debt crisis

November 03, 2011|By Christi Parsons | Washington Bureau
  • President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy speak to reporters after their meeting at G-20 summit in Cannes, France
President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy speak to reporters… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)

Reporting from Cannes, France — President Obama pledged this morning to stand with European leaders as they work to resolve their debt crisis, amid confusion about what the leading economies can do to save the current plan as it heads into rough waters.

While Obama and other world leaders made their way here for a summit involving leaders of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies, divisions opened within the Greek government over the wisdom of its tentative plan to hold a referendum on the new European debt deal.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou plans an emergency Cabinet meeting today on the referendum idea, as his government’s finance minister expressed concerns about the wisdom of putting the debt deal to a popular vote.

After a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy this morning, Obama told reporters that the two discussed "how we can work to help resolve that situation."

"The United States will continue to be a partner to the Europeans to resolve these challenges," Obama said.

Sarkozy, the current chairman of the G-20, expressed no more certainty about how to proceed. His official position is that the Greek people must decide whether to stand with the agreement and keep using the euro.

The issue threatens to overshadow the summit beginning here today. Obama had hoped to come here and watch the European deal get the stamp of approval from the member nations.

"We need the support of Barack Obama and the U.S.," Sarkozy said after meeting with the president. "President Obama and myself are trying to build the unity of the G-20."

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