Obama closes G-20 Summit with economic optimism

obamer4.jpgBy Kailani Koenig-Muenster
September 25, 2009
Friday evening President Barack Obama closed out the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit by announcing growth in the world’s financial sectors. In a briefing at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Obama outlined the decisions coming out of conference discussions and noted the progress the elite group has already accomplished.
“Our coordinated stimulus plans played an indispensable role in averting catastrophe,” he said. “We can’t wait for a crisis to cooperate.”
He praised the work of G-20 leaders in taking steps to turn the world economy back around. Obama said that the decline stopped six months ago, soon after his stimulus package was passed through Congress.
The G-20 will be shifting more financial responsibility to the International Monetary Fund, and the nations involved will monitor each other’s systems on a peer-review basis.
One of the summit’s most prominent topics was the issue of capping executive salaries. While Germany and France were strongly pushing for salary caps, Obama announced that they will tie executive pay to long-term performance.
Economic issues dominated most of the discussion, but the leaders also talked about alternative energy sources and decided to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.
“This reform will increase our energy security,” said Obama. “It will help transform our economy, so that we’re creating the clean energy jobs of the future. And it will help us combat the threat posed by climate change.”
While the summit was focused largely on bringing back the world economies from near-collapse, news broke Friday morning that Iran had been developing another secret site for uranium enrichment.
“Our preferred method of action is diplomatic. If that does not work, then other consequences may follow,” said Obama. “This is not a football game, so I’m not interested in victory. I’m interested in solving the problem.”
He said the United States had “never been more united” with the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and Germany after Iran’s new move toward nuclear proliferation.
While there were patches of protesters around Pittsburgh over the course of the conference, the numbers weren’t as high as some officials had earlier predicted.
“This was a very tranquil G-20 Summit,” said Obama, comparing it to the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who clogged the streets of London last November. The Pittsburgh Chief of Police reported that 83 people were arrested for G-20 obstruction activities, and city businesses suffered about $50,00 worth of damage.
Photo by Laura Imkamp, WEBN News