LOS CABOS, MEXICO – Call it a case of appearances over substance. During brief remarks after President Obama’s bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday morning, the two leaders’ body language seemed to indicate the meeting had not gone well. They rarely looked at each other, never smiled and ended their meeting with a perfunctory handshake.
Reporters pounced on such a dramatic visual representation of what has recently been a somewhat troubled relationship. Russia has refused to go along with the United States and other nations in calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, and has blocked two U.N. Security Council Resolutions sanctioning the Syrian government.
At a briefing after the morning meeting, top White House aides warned reporters against reading into what one called the leaders’ “businesslike” meeting.
“Go back and look at the tape when he met with Obama the last time,” U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul told reporters. “You'll see exactly the same body language. I have. That's just his style and I really would encourage you not to over-read how somebody is sitting as an indication of where the relationship is.”
Los Cabos, Mexico (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday welcomed the results of the Greek election as he prepared to join other world leaders at a summit aimed at boosting a sluggish global economic recovery.
Officially, the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, will largely focus on one of the primary causes of the recovery's lethargy - the threat of a European currency collapse that would roil the already fragile economies of most of the 17 countries that use the euro.
"The world is concerned about the slowing of growth that has taken place," Obama said Monday before the start of the summit, following one-on-one-talks with host President Felipe Calderon of Mexico. " A lot of attention has been centered on Europe. Now is the time, as we've discussed, to make sure that all of us join to do what's necessary to stabilize the world financial system, to avoid protectionism, to ensure that we are working hand-in-hand to both grow the economy and create jobs while taking a responsible approach long term and medium term towards our fiscal structures."
However, the summit was not expected to produce concrete commitments, and European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso made clear Monday that European nations were not there to be lectured on how to proceed.
"This crisis was not originated in Europe. .... This crisis was originated in North America," Barroso said. "And many of our financial sector were contaminated by - how can I put it - unorthodox practice from some sectors of the financial market. But we are not putting the blame on our partners. What we are saying is let's work together when we have a global problem like the one we have today. "