Sarkozy and Obama to discuss soaring food prices
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President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Washington Monday for talks with US President Barack Obama. The visit comes as France takes the helm of both the G8 and G20, with food price regulation and currency stability high on Sarkozy’s agenda.
When French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives in Washington Monday, he’ll have plenty of ammunition to argue his case for greater global food price and currency stability.
In the past four weeks, several people have been killed in Algeria and Tunisia in violent riots over soaring food prices and unemployment.
During his meeting with US counterpart Barack Obama, Sarkozy will argue that an agreement on currencies and global imbalances will help prevent further swings in commodity prices to avoid a veritable world food crisis, like the one that hit in 2008, when riots broke out in dozens of countries across the world.
Coordination on global concerns
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon underlined the point last week when he told a conference that one of France's top G20 priorities was to find a collective response to "excessive volatility" in commodity prices, notably for food and energy.
Washington is Sarkozy’s first stop in seeking support for the planned reforms. France is the current rotating president of both the G8 and the G20, and is hoping to push through the changes by the end of the year.
The two leaders will also discuss a range of security issues such as the NATO-led war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear developments, the increasing terror threat from Pakistan, and the ongoing post-election crisis in Ivory Coast.
In the French and Lebanese press, relatively more attention has been paid to the discussion the two leaders will have about the upcoming indictment by the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
Both France and the US support the tribunal, which is charged with investigating the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. But global leaders fear that that the findings could unleash widespread violence in the Middle East.
Sarkozy will meet Obama for the first time since documents leaked by whistle-blower website Wikileaks revealed that US diplomats found the French president "viscerally" pro-American but also touchy, thin-skinned, and with a complicated private life.
Sarkozy will travel with his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who is supposed to have a separate lunch with Michelle Obama.