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World leaders gather in London amid tight security


Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-04-01

Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies gather in London on Wednesday for the G20 summit to try to find ways of resolving the worst financial crisis since the 1930s amid mounting public anger and tight security measures across the city.

World leaders gathered in London on Wednesday for a much-awaited G20 summit under pressure to produce strategies to boost world economies in the face of a paralysing financial crisis. London is under tight security as authorities expect several demonstrations to converge on the Bank of England.


“There is anger here, anger against big bonuses for bosses. The summit is dubbed ‘April Fools’ financial day’ and we are expecting some protests,” reports FRANCE 24’s Benedicte Paviot in London.


Workers in London’s financial district were urged to stay at home or to dress down to avoid attracting the attention of protestors. According to the UK daily The Guardian, the police operation to secure the G20 will cost an estimated 7.2 million pounds and involve 3,000 extra officers.


US President Barack Obama arrived in London late on Tuesday evening, readying himself for face-to-face talks with world leaders ahead of the official summit on Thursday. Obama will meet Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev and China’s President Hu Jintao for the first time.


The G20 summit is Obama’s first major international gathering after two months in the Oval Office. As president of the country which ushered in the present economic crisis, he is under intense pressure to produce solutions.


However, differences already emerged which might prevent leaders from reaching a consensus at the summit.


On Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy upped the stakes, warning that he would walk away if the summit failed to produce concrete solutions to the crisis.


Early on Wednesday, Sarkozy reiterated his disagreements with the G20 draft statement. "Neither France nor Germany are satisfied with the proposals as they currently stand," the French leader told Europe 1 radio, speaking just hours before the start of the talks.


While the US and others favour stimulus to boost economic growth, European leaders, led by France and Germany, are sceptical about spending more money and insist on tighter financial regulation to rein in market excess.


In a newspaper interview on Wednesday, Japanese PM Taro Aso underlined his country’s experience in tackling financial crises, dismissing Germany's warnings about the dangers of excessive spending.


Date created : 2009-04-01