World leaders get down to business, in camp casual, at G8 summit

Lesley Clark

May 19, 2012 

CAMP ROUND MEADOW, Md. — The global economy will top discussions today at Camp David, President Obama said moments ago as world leaders allowed cameras into the Laurel Lodge for a few remarks.

Obama sought to portray chummy togetherness amid the leaders, saying last night's talks resulted in agreement among the world leaders — who don't necessarily see eye to eye on everything, particularly the approach the world should take on Iran, Syria and Europe's debt crisis.

Today's discussions will include the economy, and Obama said the Euro-zone crisis would be one topic of discussion.

"All of us are absolutely committed to making sure that growth and stability and fiscal consolidation are part of an overall package" to achieve prosperity, he said.

And he said they'd talk about uncertainty in the energy markets and "how to resolve some of those issues," along with developments in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Afghanistan.

On global hot spots, he said leaders agreed that North Korea is "violating its international obligations" and that they're "deeply concerned about the violence" in Syria.

He called Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program a "grave concern," saying the country has the right to a nuclear program, but hasn't convinced the world it's not pursuing weapons. "We are hopeful about the discussions in Baghdad," he said, but the leaders still back pursuing sanctions. "Our hope is that we can resolve this issue in a peaceful fashion that respects Iran’s sovereignty and its rights in the international community, but also recognizes its responsibilities."

The cameras captured the members of the Group of 8 sitting around a small round table, dressed in camp casual. Obama wore a dress shirt with his sleeves rolled up; other leaders were in v-neck sweaters or dress shirts without ties. They were all smiling broadly. Obama — the meeting's host — was the only leader to talk.

Obama was seated between French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron. He noted it's the largest gathering ever of world leaders at Camp David.

He said the leaders did have one particular area of hope: Burma. "Our hope is that this process will continue and we’re going to do everything we can to encourage that process."

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