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Obama with Medvedev, Jintau, Brown at G-20 in London.

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President Obama deals with international leaders--Medvedev of Russia, Jintau of China, Netanyahu of Israel, Britian's Brown--on Wednesday while in London for the G-20 summit. Obama and Medvedev start work on a new treaty to reduce nuclear arms and make sure terrorists do not get nuclear materials. Obama visits Russia and China later this year.

Click to jump for files on:

President Obama meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintau, transcript.

President Obama meeting with Russian Federation President Dmitriy Medvedev, background readout.

Joint Statement by President Obama and Dmitriy A. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, Regarding Negotiations on Further Reductions in Strategic Offensive Arms

President Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, joint press conference, transcript.

President Obama call with new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, guidance.

Office of the Press Secretary
April 1, 2009

Joint Statement by
Dmitriy A. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, and
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America,
Regarding Negotiations on Further Reductions in Strategic Offensive Arms
The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, and the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitriy A. Medvedev, noted that the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START Treaty), which expires in December 2009, has completely fulfilled its intended purpose and that the maximum levels for strategic offensive arms recorded in the Treaty were reached long ago. They have therefore decided to move further along the path of reducing and limiting strategic offensive arms in accordance with U.S. and Russian obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Presidents decided to begin bilateral intergovernmental negotiations to work out a new, comprehensive, legally binding agreement on reducing and limiting strategic offensive arms to replace the START Treaty. The United States and the Russian Federation intend to conclude this agreement before the Treaty expires in December. In this connection, they instructed their delegations at the negotiations to proceed on basis of the following:

- The subject of the new agreement will be the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms;

- In the future agreement the Parties will seek to record levels of reductions in strategic offensive arms that will be lower than those in the 2002 Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, which is currently in effect;

- The new agreement will mutually enhance the security of the Parties and predictability and stability in strategic offensive forces, and will include effective verification measures drawn from the experience of the Parties in implementing the START Treaty.

They directed their negotiators to report on progress achieved in working out the new agreement by July 2009.

Office of the Press Secretary
April 1, 2009

Readout of the President's call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
The President spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu today. The President congratulated the Prime Minister after his swearing-in yesterday, and reaffirmed the United States' steadfast commitment to Israel and its security. The President said he looked forward to working closely with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government to address issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Arab-Israeli peace.

Office of the Press Secretary
April 1, 2009


Winfield House
London, United Kingdom

2:24 P.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I just want to welcome President Hu and thank him for extending himself to come to visit and allowing us to have our first face to face conversation.

Obviously China is a great power. It has a long and extraordinary history. The relationship between the United States and China has become extremely constructive. Our economic relationships are very strong. And I've said publicly, and I continue to believe, that the relationship between China and the United States is not only important for the citizens of both our countries, but will help to set the stage for how the world deals with a whole host of challenges in the years to come.

So I'm looking forward to a very productive and open conversation about not only the state of the world economy during this time of crisis, but also know we can work cooperatively together to improve peace and security for both nations and the world at large.

I believe that as strong as our relationship already is, I am confident that we can make it even stronger in the years to come.

PRESIDENT HU: (As translated.) I'm very happy to have this opportunity to meet with President Obama. It's our first face to face meeting.

Since President Obama took office we have secured a good beginning in the growth of this relationship. President Obama and I stayed in close touch, and foreign ministers of our two countries have exchanged visits in a short span of time.

In addition, the two sides both have reached agreement on the characterization of the China-U.S. relationship in this new era and on the mechanism of the strategic economic dialogues. These results have not come easily, which deserve our both sides' efforts to cherish.

And as President Obama rightly said just now, sound China-U.S. relationship is not only in the fundamental interest of our two peoples and our two countries, but also contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asian Pacific region and in the world at large.

The Chinese side is willing to work together with the U.S. side to secure even greater progress in the development of the China-U.S. relationship, and I'm willing to establish a good working relationship and personal friendship with President Obama.

I'm sure my meeting with President Obama today will be positive and productive.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: If I'm not mistaken we're going to have our respective representatives on the strategic and economic dialogue appear with us, so that everybody knows who's going to be talking.

So these high-level ministers will be charged with working in a very detailed and constructive way on issues of mutual interest to our two countries. And we are very grateful to President Hu for designating such distinguished ministers who are going to be working very constructively with Tim Geithner, my Secretary of Treasury, as well as Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State.

Thank you very much.

END 2:33 P.M. (Local)
e of the Press Secretary
April 1, 2009


Winfield House
London, United Kingdom

1:25 P.M (Local)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you all. So we just did what I think was a very successful first meeting, focused on real issues. It was not just a "let's get to know each other." As you'll see by the two documents that have been released -- you probably all have them by now -- we established -- we did a lot of work before this meeting, and that was on purpose. The idea was to use this meeting to push things forward.

We have the joint instructions for our negotiators on a new post-START agreement, and I suspect they'll get at it immediately. I think Rose Gottemoeller will be our chief negotiator on this. She came out of the Senate, I think, committee yesterday, and she should be almost ready to go.

They have a lot of work to do to get this done by the end of December, because START -- December 5th I believe is the day that it expires, so we have to get a new agreement before then.

Second is the joint statement on U.S.-Russian relations, broadly speaking. You'll note in there it is a wide-ranging document, covers a lot of big issues, a lot of hard issues. And it's not just in 30,000-feet language, it's some very practical issues, some which we can cooperate on, some which we disagree upon. And I think it was important to note that in the meeting we walked through a lot of what's in the joint statement in the meeting.

And there are some broad agreements. I was struck by the agreement about threats from countries like North Korea, Iran, and extremist elements in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That, to me, is very significant that we're agreeing on these places as threats.

I was also struck by some of the disagreements. We had -- they had real disagreements about Georgia, particularly Abkhazia and South Ossetia will never be recognized by the United States. The President said that very forcefully. The President also made clear the idea of a sphere of influence is an idea whose time is long past its due, not a 21st-century idea, and some discussion on that.

I think the thing I would emphasize about the joint statement -- both Presidents have said it -- this was an ambitious agenda. I'll tell you honestly, I was not optimistic when we started this process of negotiating this that we would get it done for this meeting. And the fact that we did I think showed most certainly the President's -- my President's ambition in being -- producing a workmanlike agenda. This is a document of work; this is not a document of principles or flowery language. And I think we have to give President Medvedev credit, too, that this is not an ordinary document from their side. It started very differently several weeks ago, and that he got his government to engage in it in a very serious way and get it done in time for our meeting today I think is a statement of the possibilities in U.S.-Russian relations.

And maybe I'll just end on that -- this is an aspirational document. We've laid out an agenda, and we don't have any illusions about how easy it will be to get agreement on a lot of the things that are there. And I want to make that point emphatic. I think sometimes people think, well, the work is done because the statement is there. No, the statement is the beginning of a long process. And we have our eyes wide open about how difficult it will be in terms of getting real agreements.



SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think many of you who have covered the President for some time now, he's made clear through -- over the course of some time that as it relates to Russia, we want to find ways to agree on common interests, to work on common interests, but he also has been very clear that we'll be candid where they disagree.

And I think what you had today was a meeting that did exactly that on both fronts -- looked for ways that they can agree on many -- and work together on many of the issues my colleague just laid out; also where there was candid disagreements, as my colleague suggested, on Georgia, on this idea of sphere of influence, on trying to make sure that we have a common understanding of what missile defense is designed to do and not designed to do -- I think you saw in this meeting today, the President basically putting into action what he said for an awful long time, which is we're going to find ways to work on common interests, but we're also going to be very candid where we disagree.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And he was not shy, by the way, of even bringing up issues of human rights. You may have heard Lav Ponomarev was badly beaten yesterday. He's a very important human rights activist in Russia. And that came up in the conversation, as well, today.

Q A couple quick things. You mentioned how all this work was done in preparation for this meeting and to put together these documents that are very detailed. And then you said that they pushed it forward, or the idea of the meeting was to push it forward. With everything sort of right in front of them and agreed to beforehand, how did they push it forward?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, we pushed it forward before the meeting to get to this big agenda. And I think to maybe take you through a few of the models, it might be interesting so you know.

So it started with the two phone calls; very positive calls. President Medvedev sent us a letter. We responded with a rather ambitious letter in response. Under Secretary Burns and myself actually took that letter physically to Moscow to show how serious we were, and that made an impression.

The next big milestone was when Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov met in Geneva. And that was the first exchange of these documents that we released today. But they went through a lot of negotiations and a lot of, I would say, bolstering and expansion between Geneva and today.

So, that said, when you read the statements, they don't say "we have eliminated all nuclear weapons," they say we've established instructions for our negotiators. It talked about threats. It's an agenda-setting, not an agenda completion thing.

And today they talked about the whole thing.

Q Right, so they just kind of went over --


Q -- all these things that are encapsulated in there?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Every single point in the joint statement, yes.

MR. GIBBS: And I would mention, to add to that, the President believed there was enough cooperation on that agenda today to accept the invitation to go to Moscow in July.

Q And just one other really quick thing. If START expires and there's not a new agreement to replace it of some form, what's the practical effect of that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There are ways to get around it. There are technical ways. But we don't want to do that.

Q Well, and then so the flip side: Why don't you want to let that happen? What's the --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Because the President said he wants a new agreement. (Laughter.) And it's important. I mean, I think -- you know, this is a young crowd; you may have forgotten how difficult it was to negotiate the first START agreement. I think it's a 700-page document, if I'm not mistaken. The Bush administration's approach to this stuff was not to have a lot of verification -- put warheads in storage and then not count them. I think that was a three to four page document -- and we're now returning to a more robust arms control negotiation.

So it's going to take a lot to do, and if we get it done, it creates the framework for doing even bolder things later.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would just -- let me just add to that. I think what you'll hear when we get to Prague is a President who's very focused on the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. The reason to have a verifiable, legally binding agreement to continue on from START is to not only have an agreement with Russia, which is obviously the biggest holder of -- well, along with us, is the biggest holder of such weapons, it's also to send a very clear message to the world -- places like Iran, where we continue to have very serious concerns about their illicit nuclear program, and other countries throughout the world -- that this is a United States that's very serious about the challenge posed by nuclear weapons and the proliferation of such technology.

Q Are they in agreement on North Korea and Iran then, if the areas of disagreement were Georgia and South Ossetia?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would say, you know, both Presidents expressed their concern about developments in both of those two countries. And that, to me, is progress. You know, I don't feel comfortable elaborating beyond that, but that was -- that was very striking to me in the meeting.

Q Did they discuss the potential missile launch?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Not explicitly, but -- I mean, they discussed North Korea and they both knew that that's happening, there's no doubt.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would just say -- I would just add to what -- I mean, they did -- the President did explicitly raise the launch.

Q He did --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Oh, absolutely. Let's not kid ourselves about what it's about.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And the -- the other thing is I think there was -- I think it is fair to say that they're in agreement about the challenges posed in each of these two countries, Hans. I don't think we want to suggest that somehow they're in agreement -- there's agreement about how to proceed. I know you --

Q -- with Russia? I mean, they've been on --


Q -- the same side in terms of --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, no, no, no, it's not --

Q -- in terms of it being a problem.


Q Yes, they have.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well -- okay. I've dealt with Mr. Lavrov over the last several weeks and they've always said Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon -- "We have no evidence of that, show me that this is there." And this was a different tone than that. I mean, that's my interpretation, but I haven't been --

Q But they developed this whole system to take the fuel from Iran and reprocess it or store it in Russia because they agreed there was -- there was potentially a problem with Iran's ambitions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There's a lot of nuance between what you're saying and their position.

Q Okay, I'm just trying to understand where the progress is.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: They -- we had an assessment of the threat for a long time that they did not accept, and I would say today we came closer to having a mutual understanding of what that threat is.

Q Can you both talk about the atmospherics of the meeting? There's a lot of interest in this because this the first time he's interacting on the world stage with these leaders and, you know, we've heard a lot about the fact that he's not the type to look in the soul of a Russian leader. But did they have a rapport? I mean, what is his style in these meetings, especially in this one?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You know, Caren, what I would say to that is I think you saw some of it when you saw them upstairs. And so I think that they did have a good rapport. They were able to address a wide range of issues in a relatively short period of time. But I'd also say that it's fair to say that that rapport was also matched by candor and frankness on areas of disagreement.

And that's what I suggested at the beginning. That is to say that, there's areas where they disagree and I think the President has made clear that he believes that we can -- we not only can, but must be very candid and very frank about those areas in order to try to resolve them.

Q Is it fair to assume though --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think if you go back and you remember the first Bush-Putin meeting where that famous quote came from, that was a conscious strategy on the Bush administration's part to develop this personal rapport. Our strategy is different than that. Our strategy is to develop a agenda based on interests; also accentuating where we disagree -- but not to make the goal of these meetings to establish some, you know, buddy-buddy relationship. The goal is to advance our interests. And if there's a -- if having, you know, these kind of dialogues is a means to that end, that's great, and I think we saw some of that today. But it's -- it's the opposite. The goal is not to have a personal relationship.

Q Are you talking about all the bilateral meetings, is that the general philosophy, or just this one?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll turn to these guys. I'm just dealing with Russia.

Q But when you said this meeting, you were talking about --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm talking about the Russia meeting, and the one in July and moving forward. Now, having said that, I think it's worth noting -- you know, there was good rapport. Medvedev -- they have some commonalities that they talked about -- you know, the fact that they're young, they're lawyers, they -- as you heard Mr. Medvedev say up top, publically, and he said in the meeting as well, we have a common language -- and that's not just English; that's legal language. And he makes a big deal out of that -- he did today. And that's all to the good.

Q So does the personal rapport matter at all, or it's --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, it's better to have better --

Q -- not as important as everyone --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: -- you know, better to be able to talk to than not, but don't make it the goal of your policy, is to -- I'll just leave it at that.

MR. GIBBS: Thank you, guys.

Q And could you also say, were there any specific goals set for the July meeting? What's that meeting going to be all about?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The biggest -- without getting into the details -- the biggest milestone for that meeting is progress on the START negotiations. And I think it was pretty clear that we have to, you know, hit some milestones by July.

Q -- milestones for -- they set some milestones that have to be developed before then?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Not the details of it, but everybody knew on both sides there are things that have to get done. The experts knew by what the exchanges they set. But they didn't say specifics, no.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Remember, too, that we have a very robust agenda as it relates to nonproliferation with our Russian friends that goes beyond the START treaty. And so, for example, the President's goal of locking down all those fissile material in the first four years here -- that's something that we're going to obviously want to work very closely with our Russian friends on. And that will be obviously an issue that we'll continue to work on the day-to-day level, but with the hope of seeing progress.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Some of that you'll hear more later in the trip in the speech in Prague.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me say one last thing, just to be clear. I mean, yes, the lead is START and, yes, they reached a set of negotiating rules -- but, by the way, I mean, you're going to see the document and if you're not an expert on it you're going to say, what's the big deal? As somebody intimately involved in negotiations of every single word in that document, every word has big meaning in terms of our arsenals and their arsenals.

But I think it's also important when you look at the joint -- the second joint statement, to realize this is not just a meeting and this is not just a relationship that's all just about arms control. We talked about economic relations. We talked about values. Both gentlemen brought that up. Both Presidents brought that up; it wasn't just our side. We talked about a range of these security issues that, you know, before would be very difficult.

So I think when you look at the joint statement you're going to see a big relationship -- at least the potential for one; not just about arms control.

Q Just Moscow or do we -- do we go anywhere else?

MR. GIBBS: I think at this point --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: What's this "we", stuff, Hans? (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS: -- at this point, just Moscow.

Thanks, guys.

END 1:42 P.M. (Local)

Office of the Press Secretary
April 1, 2009


Foreign and Commonwealth Building
London, United Kingdom
10:15 A.M. (Local)

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: The whole of the United Kingdom welcomes President Obama and the First Lady on your first official visit to our country. President Obama, you have given renewed hope not only to the citizens of the United States of America, but to all citizens in all part of the world. And I want to thank you for your leadership, your vision and your courage, which you've already shown in your presidency, and congratulate you on the dynamism, the energy and, indeed, the achievements that you have been responsible for.

Your first 70 days in office have changed America, and you've changed America's relationship with the world. So I thank you for coming to our country and I hope you will enjoy your visit with us.

Today we are renewing our special relationship for new times. Ours is not an alliance of convenience; it is a partnership of purpose. It's a partnership that at times of challenge is resilient and at times of change is constant.

President Obama and I are agreed about the significance of this week's G20 meeting, that the world is coming together to act in the face of unprecedented global financial times. Our first duty is to those who are suffering most -- the people anxious about their mortgages, their jobs and their family's future. For them, the pain of recession is all too real. But let us not forget that in 1929, when the Wall Street crash happened and led to recession, it was not until 1945 that the world came together to reshape the world economy. Then it took more than 15 years.

Today, within months of this financial crisis, we are coming together to solve the common problems we face, we are cooperating to shorten the recession, and we are working together to protect and save jobs. The truth is that today's global problems require global solutions. And at this week's summit, where leaders representing 85 percent of the world's economy are gathering together, this summit cannot simply agree to the lowest common denominator. We must stand united in our determination to do whatever is necessary.

This is an unprecedented financial crisis. People have lost their homes, their jobs, and in some cases, their hope. And President Obama and I are agreed today that the actions we take are global solutions required for global problems.

There are really five tests for the G20 summit, five tests for the world -- tests that if met, will create a new consensus for the world. The speed and scale of global economic change has overwhelmed the national system of rules and regulations. So our first test is to agree tougher and more transparent supervision of banks, hedge funds, and what is known as the global shadow banking system. We are both agreed there will be no sustainable recovery until the banks are cleaned up and a new regulatory system is put in place.

The second test is to commit to taking the action necessary to bring about a resumption of growth, push back against the global recession, and support families and businesses.

The third test is to ensure, by international economic cooperation and by strengthening our international economic institutions, we support growth in emerging markets and developing countries.

The fourth test is to reject protectionism and kick-start global trade, and I suggest that an absolute minimum of $100 billion of trade finance that is so desperately needed.

Fifth, we have an obligation to help the poorest, those most vulnerable, but least able to respond to the crisis, by meeting our Millennium Development goals and keeping our pledges on aid.

Both the United Kingdom and the United States are also embarked on a transition to becoming low-carbon economies, because the President and I share the conviction that green energy technologies will be the major driver of our future economic growth and we can create millions of green-collar jobs in the world for the future.

Now, we have some tough negotiations ahead. It will not be easy. But I know from my talks this week, and from my discussions with President Obama today, that the world does want to come together; that Britain and America working together can help make this consensus not just something that is agreed on paper, but which truly delivers for people everywhere who are worried about their jobs and their hopes and their family budgets.

Today, we, the G20 leaders, will begin our discussions. Tomorrow, we must make decisions. And that is what we will do.

We've also discussed how we rebuild Afghanistan by complementing our military action with defense, diplomacy, and development -- putting new resources into civilian support for the Afghan reconstruction.

The President and I also discussed our hopes that Iran will make the right choice and take advantage of the international community's willingness to negotiate, and how we will renew our efforts to deliver security and peace for both the Palestinians and Israel.

Mr. President, I'm honored to be working with you so closely. We share a personal friendship. I believe we can continue to work together for the common good. I repeat: The whole of the United Kingdom is delighted and privileged that you're with us today. Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much, Gordon.

Good morning. I am very pleased to be in London, especially with weather of the sort we're seeing today. And I want to thank Prime Minister Brown for hosting us, for his wife taking Michelle on a tour of some wonderful projects around the city, for his leadership throughout this challenge. I have to say it's not just Gordon and Sarah that have been very hospitable -- I had a chance to see their two sons and we talked about dinosaurs a little bit -- (laughter) -- in between discussions of Afghanistan and Iran. So we've had a wonderful time.

And you're to be congratulated because you have shown extraordinary energy and leadership and initiative in laying the groundwork for this summit. All of us owe Prime Minister Brown an extraordinary debt of gratitude for his preparations in what I believe will be a historic and essential meeting of the G20 nations.

Prime Minister Brown and I had a productive discussion this morning. Both of us greatly value the special relationship between our nations. The United States and the United Kingdom have stood together through thick and thin, through war and peace, through hard times and prosperity -- and we've always emerged stronger by standing together. So I'm pleased that my first meeting overseas as President is with Gordon Brown, just as I was pleased to host him in Washington shortly after taking office. And I know that we both believe that the relationship between our two countries is more than just an alliance of interests; it's a kinship of ideals and it must be constantly renewed.

In our meeting this morning we covered a complex and wide-ranging agenda. It begins, of course, with the global economy. All of us here in London have the responsibility to act with a sense of urgency, and I think that what Prime Minister Brown spoke about, the human dimensions of this crisis -- people losing their homes, losing their businesses that they've worked so hard for, losing their health care in the United States; people around the world who were already desperate before the crisis and they find themselves even more desperate afterwards -- that's what our agenda has to begin with, and that's where it will end.

All of us here in London have the responsibility to act with a sense of urgency, and every nation that will be participating has been affected by a crisis that has cost us so much in terms of jobs, savings and the economic security of our citizens. So make no mistake, we are facing the most severe economic crisis since World War II. And the global economy is now so fundamentally interconnected that we can only meet this challenge together. We can't create jobs at home if we're not doing our part to support strong and stable markets around the world.

The United States is committed, working alongside the United Kingdom, to doing whatever it takes to stimulate growth and demand, and to ensure that a crisis like this never happens again. At home, we're moving forward aggressively on both recovery and reform. We've taken unprecedented action to create jobs and restore the flow of credit. And we've proposed a clear set of tough, new 21st-century rules of the road for all of our financial institutions. We are lifting ourselves out of this crisis and putting an end to the abuses that got us here.

I know that the G20 nations are appropriately pursuing their own approaches, and as Gordon indicated, we're not going to agree on every point. I came here to put forward our ideas, but I also came here to listen, and not to lecture. Having said that, we must not miss an opportunity to lead. To confront a crisis that knows no borders, we have a responsibility to coordinate our actions and to focus on common ground, not on our occasional differences. If we do, I believe we can make enormous progress.

And that's why, in preparation for these meetings, I've reached out and consulted with many of the leaders who are here or will be arriving shortly.

History shows us that when nations fail to cooperate, when they turn away from one another, when they turn inward, the price for our people only grows. That's how the Great Depression deepened. That's a mistake that we cannot afford to repeat.

So in the days ahead I believe we will move forward with a sense of common purpose. We have to do what's necessary to restore growth and to pursue the reforms that can stabilize our financial system well into the future. We have to reject protectionism and accelerate our efforts to support emerging markets. And we have to put in place a structure that can sustain our cooperation in the months and years ahead.

The Prime Minister and I also covered several other areas of challenge that are fundamental to our common security and prosperity. As he mentioned, we discussed my administration's review of strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a review that benefitted greatly from the consultations with our allies.

The city of London, like the United States, was attacked by the al Qaeda terrorists who are still plotting in Pakistan, and we are committed to a focused effort to defeat them. And I want to repeat something that I said during our last visit together -- I want to honor the British troops and their families who are serving alongside our own on behalf of our common security.

We also discussed the progress that was made yesterday at The Hague, where more than 70 nations gathered to discuss our mutual responsibilities to partner with the Afghan people so that we can deny al Qaeda a safe haven. And in the days ahead we'll consult further with our NATO allies about training Afghan security forces, increasing our civilian support, and a regional approach that recognizes the connection between the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And just a few other points. The Prime Minister and I share a common commitment to sustain diplomacy on behalf of a secure and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel and the Arab world. And we're working together to responsibly end the war in Iraq by transitioning to Iraqi responsibility. We're both committed to diplomacy with Iran that offers the Islamic republic the opportunity of a better future if it abandons its nuclear weapons ambitions.

And finally, we discussed two of the other long-term challenges that will define our times, which I will be focused on throughout my trip in Europe -- the need for global action to confront climate change and a renewed effort on behalf of nuclear nonproliferation, which I will be discussing later today with President Medvedev.

Our immediate task, however, is the critical work of confronting the economic crisis. As I've said, we've passed through an era of profound irresponsibility; now we cannot afford half-measures, and we cannot go back to the kind of risk-taking that leads to bubbles that inevitably bust.

So we have a choice: We can shape our future, or let events shape it for us. And if we want to succeed, we can't fall back on the stale debates and old divides that won't move us forward. Every single nation who's here has a stake in the other. We won't solve all our problems in the next few days, but we can make real and unprecedented progress. We have an obligation to keep it -- keep working at it until the burden on ordinary people is lifted, until we've achieved the kind of steady growth that creates jobs and advances prosperity for people everywhere.

That's the responsibility we bear; that must be the legacy of our cooperation. And I'm extraordinarily grateful to Gordon for his friendship and his leadership in mobilizing at a time of such significant moment.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: Thank you very much. I said to Barack I was going to introduce him to my friends in the British media.


Q Prime Minister, thank you very much, indeed. Nick Robinson, BBC News. A question for you both, if I may. The Prime Minister has repeatedly blamed the United States of America for causing this crisis. France and Germany blame both Britain and America for causing this crisis. Who is right? And isn't the debate about that at the heart of the debate about what to do now?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I would say that if you look at the sources of this crisis, the United States certainly has some accounting to do with respect to a regulatory system that was inadequate to the massive changes that had taken place in the global financial system.

I think what is also true is that here in Great Britain, in continental Europe, around the world, we were seeing the same mismatch between the regulatory regimes that were in place and the highly integrated global capital markets that had emerged.

So at this point, I'm less interested in identifying blame than fixing the problem. And I think we've taken some very aggressive steps in the United States to do so -- not just responding to the immediate crisis, ensuring that banks are adequately capitalized, dealing with the enormous drop-off in demand and the contraction that's been taking place, but more importantly for the long term, making sure that we've got a set of regulations that are up to the task.

And that includes a number that will be discussed at this summit. I think there's a lot of convergence between all the parties involved about the need, for example, to focus not on the legal form that a particular financial product takes or the institution that it emerges from, but rather what's the risk involved; what's the function of this product and how do we regulate that adequately; much more effective coordination between countries so that we can anticipate some of the risks that are involved; dealing with the problem of derivatives markets and making sure that we've set up systems that can reduce some of the risk there.

So I actually think that there's enormous consensus that has emerged in terms of what we need to do now, and I'm a big believer in looking forward rather than backwards.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: You know, I was in Brazil last week, and I think President Lula will forgive me for saying this -- he said to me, when I was leader of the trade unions, I blamed the government; when I became leader of the opposition, I blamed the government; when I became the government, I blamed Europe and America. (Laughter.)

And he recognizes, as we do, that this is a global problem. It's a global problem that requires a global solution. What essentially happened is that the speed and the pace and the scope of global financial changes -- the mobility of capital around the world -- overwhelmed system of national regulation. And if we don't accept that as the problem that we've got to solve, then we will not solve the problems this week.

This is a problem to build cross-border supervision, to actually deal with the rules globally that can govern the financial supervision of banks and markets, and to root out the bad practices that have partly existed because of the scope by which -- because of the speed by which financial markets moved and the scope that they had to cross national boundaries.

So we need global solutions to what is a global problem and I think we will agree a number of measures, as President Obama said, that will clean up the global financial system.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And just one last point I want to make, because it's relevant to this issue of responsibility versus blame. I had a professor when I was in law school who said some are to blame but all are responsible. And I think that's the best way for us to approach the problem that we have right now.

I do think that, across borders, there has been a tendency to believe that whatever the global capital markets were doing was ultimately beneficial. I am a big believer in global capital markets and their potential to provide capital to countries that might not otherwise be able to grow, the possibilities of increasing living standards in ways that we have not seen previously in world history. But what we have to understand is, is that that's going to require some sort of regulatory framework to make sure that it doesn't jump the rails. And that I think is something that we're going to be able to put together.

Jennifer Loven of AP. Where's Jennifer -- there you are.

Q Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. President, you come here with several signs of fairly broad challenges to American economic leadership. There's the resistance to big, new stimulus spending; there's talk of a global -- new global currency; talk of even stricter regulations than are on the table now. How do you answer that? And what do you say to the talk that there's a decline in the American model, American prominence?

And then to the Prime Minister, if I could. French President Sarkozy said he might walk out of the summit if the regulations that are on the table do not get more strict, say, on offshore tax havens and on risky financial products. Can you answer that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think if you pulled quotes from 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, from previous news reports, you might find similar contentions that America was on decline. And somehow it hasn't worked out that way, because I think that there is a vibrancy to our economic model, a durability to our political model, and a set of ideals that has sustained us through even the most difficult times.

Now, with respect to the current crisis, I think that there is no doubt that at a time when the world is fearful, that there is a strong tendency to look for somebody to blame. And I think that given our prominence in the world financial system, it's natural that questions are asked -- some of them very legitimate -- about how we have participated in global financial markets.

Having said that, I am absolutely confident that this meeting will reflect enormous consensus about the need to work in concert to deal with these problems. I think that the separation between the various parties involved has been vastly overstated. If you look at where there has been the biggest debate, and I think that the press has fastened on this as a ongoing narrative -- this whole issue of fiscal stimulus. And the fact of the matter is, is that almost every country that's participating in this summit has engaged in fiscal stimulus. The ones that are perceived as being resistant to fiscal stimulus have done significant fiscal stimulus. There has not been a dispute about the need for government to act in the face of a rapidly contracting set of markets and very high unemployment.

Now, there have been differences in terms of how should that stimulus be shaped. There have been arguments, for example, among some European countries that because they have more of a social safety net, that some of the countercyclical measures that we took -- for example, unemployment insurance -- were less necessary for them to take. But the truth is, is that that's -- that's just arguing at the margins. The core notion that government has to take some steps to deal with a contracting global marketplace and that we should be promoting growth, that's not in dispute.

On the regulatory side, this notion that somehow there are those who are pushing for regulation and those who are resisting regulation is belied by the facts. Tim Geithner, who's sitting here today, went before Congress and proposed as aggressive a set of regulatory measures as any that have emerged among G20 members. That was before we showed up.

And in conversations that Gordon and I had with our teams, I think there's great symmetry in our belief that even as we deal with the current crisis, we've got to make sure that we're preventing future crises like this from happening again.

On the topic of emerging markets and making sure that they have the finances that they need to weather the storm, poor countries are getting help and they're not being lost in the shuffle, there is complete concurrence.

So I know that when you've got a bunch of heads of state talking, it's not visually that interesting -- (laughter) -- and it -- you know, the communiqués are written in sort of dry language, and so there's a great desire to inject some conflict and some drama into the occasion. But the truth of the matter is, is that I think there has been an extraordinary convergence and I'm absolutely confident that the United States, as -- as a peer of these other countries, will help to lead us through this very difficult time.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: Let me also add that I'm confident that President Sarkozy will not only be here for the first course of our dinner, but will still be sitting as we complete our dinner this evening.

And I think, as President Obama has said, look, never before has the world come together in this way to deal with an economic crisis. Any of the crises that we've seen since the second world war, you have not had this level of international cooperation. And never before have the world come together with so many countries represented from so many different continents to address this crisis. So we have China, we have India, we have Argentina, Brazil, we have South Africa, we have Russia, as well as Europe and America and Japan.

And we are within a few hours I think of agreeing a global plan for economic recovery and reform. And I think the significance of this is that we're looking at every aspect. It is American leadership on reshaping the financial system, on recapitalizing the banks, on restructuring the banking system that will inform our discussions on the future of the financial system. So I praise President Obama for the work that has been done within only a few days of coming into office.

But we will also be discussing how we can help the emerging markets and the industrializing countries, how they can be protected against the financial storm that is facing them. We will not forget that we have obligations to the poorest countries in the world, as well.

And so the significance of this is not just that everybody is coming together, but in all those different dimensions of the economic activity of the world, how we can restructure the financial system, how we can get growth back and create jobs in the world, how we can rebuild our financial institutions for the future, how we can help the poorest countries of the world, how we can move forward on low-carbon recovery -- you're going to see action.

And of course it's difficult, of course it's complex -- you have a large number of countries. But I'm very confident that people not only want to work together, but we agree a common global plan for recovery and reform.


Q Tom Bradby, ITV News. Mr. President, I hear what you say, but you've committed a vast sum of your country's money to a huge fiscal stimulus and we had the clear impression that you wanted other countries to come in behind you a bit more strongly. It appears that -- we've been told by the Governor of the Bank of England we can't do more for the moment, and the French and the Germans won't. Are you disappointed by that? And are you actually still calling on other countries to go further?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, as I said before, I think that there is broad recognition that in the midst of the worst crisis we've seen since the '30s, that governments are going to have to act. And certainly the United States does not intend to act alone -- and we're not. Great Britain has taken serious steps. The European Union has taken serious steps. Australia, Canada, Japan, China have all initiated significant stimulus packages.

And I think that our goal is simply to make certain that each country, taking into account its differences in economic circumstances, as well as political culture, is doing what is necessary to promote economic growth.

The United States will do its share, but I think that one of the things that Gordon and I spoke about is the fact that in some ways the world has become accustomed to the United States being a voracious consumer market and the engine that drives a lot of economic growth worldwide. And I think that in the wake of this crisis, even as we're doing stimulus we have to take into account our own deficits. We're going to have to take into account a whole host of factors that can increase our savings rate and start dealing with our long-term fiscal position, as well as our current account deficits.

Those are all issues that we have to deal with internally, which means that if there's going to be renewed growth, it can't just be the United States as the engine. Everybody is going to have to pick up the pace. And I think that there's a recognition, based on the conversations that I've had with leaders around the world, that that is important.

I should add, by the way, that to the extent that all countries are participating in promoting growth, that also strengthens the arguments that we can make in our respective countries about the importance of world trade -- the sense that this isn't a situation where each country is only exporting and never importing, but rather that there's a balance in how we approach these issues. And, again, I've actually been pleased with the degree to which there's common agreement on that front.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: Tom, if you were asking this question in a situation where America had done a fiscal stimulus and no one other country except Britain had followed it, then your question would have some legitimacy. But, look, what has happened around the world in the last few months is country after country have contributed to the biggest fiscal stimulus, the biggest injection of resources, the biggest amount of new investment provided by governments into the world economy in the history of the world. And we are in the midst of the biggest fiscal boost that the world economy has ever had.

And so Germany has invested $80 billion; France invested $25 billion; we've invested; other countries in the European have invested. Different countries have their different times for announcing their decisions. Some will do it in their budget, some will do it be financial statement. The combination of all of this, as you will see when you get our communiqué tomorrow, is the most substantial fiscal stimulus, something on the order of $2 trillion -- indeed, more than that. And that is the world coming together to cut interest rates, the world coming together to give a boost to the economy, and of course, the world coming together to deal with the other problem, which is restructuring our financial systems for the future.

And I think it is remarkable that things that people could not have thought possible 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, that you have this coordinated action from all the countries. It is remarkable this is happening. Of course, we want to push it forward tomorrow, and I believe we will.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Where's Caren? There you are. Hi, Caren.

Q Thank you, Mr. President, Prime Minister. You mentioned that you will be meeting later with Russian President Medvedev. What are your aims for that meeting? And could you elaborate on this idea of resetting U.S.-Russian relations? And also, does that mean, as Russia hopes, that you're willing to give ground on issues like missile defense and NATO expansion?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, this will be the first time that I'm meeting with President Medvedev. I'm very much looking forward to the meeting. We've had a series of conversations on the telephone and exchanged letters.

As I spoke about during the campaign, as Secretary of State Clinton has amplified in some of her remarks and her meetings with top Russian officials, what we've seen over the last several years is drift in the U.S.-Russian relationship. There are very real differences between the United States and Russia, and I have no interest in papering those over. But there are also a broad set of common interests that we can pursue. Both countries, I believe, have an interest in reducing nuclear stockpiles and promoting nuclear nonproliferation. Both countries have an interest in reducing the threat of terrorism. Both countries have an interest in stabilizing the world economy. Both countries have an interest in finding a sustainable path for energy and dealing with some of the threats of climate change that we've discussed.

So, on a whole range of issues, from Afghanistan to Iran to the topics that will be consuming most of our time here at the G20, I think there's great potential for concerted action. And that's what we will be pursuing.

Now, as has I think been noted in the press, a good place to start is the issue of nuclear proliferation. And one of the things that I've always believed strongly is that both the United States and Russia and other nuclear powers will be in a much stronger position to strengthen what has become a somewhat fragile, threadbare nonproliferation treaty if we are leading by example and if we can take serious steps to reduce the nuclear arsenal.

I think people on both sides of the Atlantic understand that as much as the constant cloud, the threat of nuclear warfare has receded since the Cold War, that the presence of these deadly weapons, their proliferation, the possibility of them finding their way into the hands of terrorists, continues to be the gravest threat to humanity. What better project to start off than seeing if we can make progress on that front. I think we can.


Q Both of you today have conjured the alarming specter of the Great Depression, but let's take your most optimistic hopes for this summit. Assuming you're successful, I suspect what millions of people around the world want to know is how much worse is this going to get and how long is it going to last and when is it going to end and growth return.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: It will get worse if people do not act. The option of doing nothing is not available to us. And I think we've seen from past crises, both internationally and in regions of the world, that if people fail to take the decisive action at the beginning, then you risk a longer recession; you risk more businesses being lost, you risk more jobs lost.

So, of course, these are difficult decisions because governments are moving in where markets have failed and banks have collapsed. But to take these decisions is the right course for the world economy.

Now, I believe that the degree of international cooperation that we can get will determine how quickly all our economies can recover. If there is stimulus in one country and it's repeated in another country, and repeated in other countries, then you can magnify the effect of that stimulus round the world, both for the benefit of the individual country that's making it and for the rest of the world. And if you can see the coordinated cuts in interest rates coming together, then you've got to push for recovery and for new economic activity. And if you can see the banks, which operate internationally, being cleaned up in every country, then you have a situation where the world will feel confident and there will be trust in the banking system for people to resume saving, investing, and preparing for the future.

So I believe the level of international cooperation will be one of the major factors that will determine how quickly we can recover. But what we are determined to do is, in this difficult time, protect people in their jobs, make sure that we can get money to mortgage holders and to businesses, and of course make sure that countries that are in peril at the moment, who don't have their own resources and aren't able to restructure their banking systems, are given resources from the world to enable them to do so.

So the way forward is not to do nothing. The way forward is to take the action that's necessary.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I agree with everything that Gordon said. It's been said repeatedly that every financial crisis comes to an end. So it will come to an end at some point. The question is, what have been the costs and how long the downturn.

I think people should take heart from the fact that governments have learned lessons from the '30s, central banks have learned lessons from the '30s. There has been much swifter action, much bolder action, much more coordinated action even prior to this summit than we have seen in previous financial crises. And that means that the prospect of restoring world growth and trade are that much greater.

I do think that Gordon is absolutely right -- how well we execute it in the months to come, how well we button down these regulations, how well we each in our own respective countries help banks to deal with the impaired assets that they have on their books so that they can start lending again to businesses and consumers, how effective we are in managing the huge outflows of capital from emerging markets and provide a buffer for very poor and developing countries that are seeing huge contractions in their trade and just don't have a lot of margin for error, how well we reform our international financial institutions so that they can be a more effective player in this whole process -- all those things will help determine whether this ends up being a slow-rolling crisis that takes a lot more time to cure, or whether we start seeing significant recovery.

I don't think there's any doubt that 2009 is going to be difficult, and, again, when you put a human face on this crisis, the way people experience it most immediately is losing their job, losing their home, losing their savings, losing their pensions. And what I think each of us is committed to doing is to make sure that people are getting immediate help, even as we're solving these broader structural problems, because we don't want that kind of suffering, but it's also not good for the overall health of the economic system.

And that's part of where stimulus has been very helpful. I mean, in our country, the unemployment insurance, the food stamps, the other mechanisms that have put money directly into people's pockets, that's not just good for those individual families; it's also helped to lift consumer spending, or at least stabilize consumer spending in a way that will promise better growth in the future.

Hans Nichols.

Q Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. President, you just spoke about looking forward and not backward, and you also referenced the voracious appetite of the American consumer. What role should the European and American consumer then play in the quarter that starts today? Should they be spending or saving to alter the velocity of what you just called a slow-rolling crisis?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think that each family has got to look at its circumstances and make those determinations. Obviously, there are a lot of people who are concerned about their job security, or they're concerned about seeing their savings having diminished if they were in the stock market, and I think it's an understandable response to be somewhat cautious in the midst of this kind of uncertainty.

I think the best advice I would have would be to say that despite the current hardships, we are going to get through this, and so you should plan sensibly, in anticipation that this economy is going to recover and new -- young families are going to want to buy new homes, and sooner or later that clunker of a car is going to wear out and people are going to want to buy a new car. And so that basing decisions around fear is -- is not the right way to go.

We are going to get through this difficult time. And I think it is sometimes important to step back and just have some perspective about the differences between now and the Great Depression, when there were no social safety nets in place; when unemployment was 25 or 30 percent. This is a difficult time, but it's not what happened to our grandparents' generation.

And so I would ask people to be confident about their own futures. And that may mean, in some cases, spending now as investments for the future. There's been a debate back home about our budget: In the midst of this crisis, should we deal with health care? Should we deal with energy? Should we deal with education? And one of the analogies I've used is a family who is having a difficult time -- and I actually get letters like this occasionally from voters -- one of our parents has lost their job, savings have declined, and so I'm wrestling with whether or not I should go to college because that will require me taking out a lot of debt, and maybe it would be more responsible for me to go find any job that I can to help the family.

And, you know, when I write back to those families or those individuals I say, well, you've obviously got to make these decisions yourself, but don't shortchange the future because of fear in the present. That I think is the most important message that we can send not just in the United States but around the world.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: Barack is absolutely right. Surely the most important thing is that people, by the decisions that are made, can have confidence in the future -- confidence to be able to make decisions about whether to save or to spend. And all the measures that we are taking -- restructuring the banks, putting money into the economy, the public works, and of course the low-carbon activities that we're encouraging as well -- are designed to give people the confidence that their savings are safe, that we've sorted out the problems and are sorting out the problems in the banking system, that we have put resources into economic activity in the economy so that jobs can be solved and jobs can be created. And then people, as consumers, can make their own decisions about what they want to do.

And I think that's the key to the future, that people can see that the problems are being addressed and they, themselves, can have the confidence either to save or to spend or to invest -- have confidence in the future. And I believe that we can make a big step towards creating that confidence by some of the decisions that we can make together.



Q Thank you. George Pascoe-Watson from The Sun. Mr. President, as President you won with a landslide. Have you got any advice for Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister? (Laughter.) Secondly, what are your things you like most about Great Britain and London? And lastly, England are playing in a World Cup qualifying match in soccer, a game you love. Have you got any good -- good luck message for the England team tonight?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- (laughter) -- let me take all these in turn. I have had enough trouble back home picking my brackets for the college basketball tournament that's taking place there -- called March Madness -- stirred up all kinds of controversy. The last thing I'm going to do is wade into European football. (Laughter.) That would be a mistake. I didn't get a briefing on that, but I sense that would be a mistake. (Laughter.)

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: England will win I can tell you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: So that would be point number one.

The thing I love about Great Britain is its people, and there is just a extraordinary affinity and kinship that we have. We owe so much to England; that when you come here there's that sense of familiarity, as well as difference, that makes it just a special place.

I have -- the only advice I would give Gordon Brown is the same advice that I gave myself during the campaign and that I've been giving myself over the last three months, which is over time good policy is good politics. And if every day you are waking up and you are making the very best decisions that you can, despite the fact that sometimes the cards in your hand aren't very good and the options are narrow and the choices are tough, and you are assured to be second-guessed constantly, and that occasionally you're going to make mistakes -- but if every day you're waking up saying, how can I make the best possible decisions to create jobs, help young people imagine a better future, provide care to the sick or the elderly or the vulnerable, sustain the planet -- if those are the questions that you're asking yourself, then I think you end up doing pretty good.

And the best part is you can wake up and look at yourself in the mirror. And that I think is the kind of integrity that Gordon Brown has shown in the past and will continue to show in the future.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: It's been an extraordinary visit already and I've benefitted from Barack's advice not just about elections, but about fitness -- we've been talking about not the -- (laughter) -- not the treadmill of politics, but the treadmill that we're both on every day, the running machines, and how you can manage to do that when you're traveling around the world and going to different countries, and we've been exchanging ideas.

Can I also say it's an extraordinary privilege to have Secretary of State Clinton here and Secretary of State Geithner [sic] and we wish them well in everything that they do as well.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And we thank the entire team. As I said, everybody has worked extraordinarily hard to make this successful. We are very grateful for the hospitality. There's one last thing that I should mention that I love about Great Britain, and that is the Queen. And so I'm very much looking forward to -- (laughter) -- I'm very much looking forward to meeting her for the first time later this evening. And as you might imagine, Michelle has been really thinking that through -- (laughter) -- because I think in the imagination of people throughout America, I think what the Queen stands for and her decency and her civility, what she represents, that's very important.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: Well, I know the Queen is looking forward to welcoming you and she's very much looking forward to her discussion with you.

So, thank you very much.


END 11:05 A.M. (Local)


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 2, 2009 4:50 AM.

President Obama, First Lady, official schedule/guidance April 1, 2009. Queen Elizabeth meeting was the previous entry in this blog.

President Obama, First Lady, official schedule and guidance April 2, 2009. G-20 meetings, press conference is the next entry in this blog.

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