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Last updated at 13:33 BST, Wednesday, 01 April 2009

Leaders gather for G20 summit

Summary

1 April 2009

London is hosting high level meetings between some of the world's most powerful leaders today, in a final effort to find common ground ahead of tomorrow's G20 summit.

Reporter:
Bridget Kendall

Obama meets Brown at Downing Street

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Report

The stakes are high and rarely have so many powerful leaders gathered in one place to try to forge a common position. Although all agree united action is needed, with only a day to go before the G20 summit, cracks are beginning to emerge, as different countries push their own priorities. France's President Sarkozy has even threatened to walk out if the tough financial regulation he wants is watered down. Perhaps it's pre-summit bluster - more may become clear at his joint press conference this afternoon with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

She's again shown her irritation at American calls for a global increase in spending to jump-start growth. China is holding out for increased clout in institutions like the IMF, and Russia backs any change that will dilute American influence.

Today's pre-summit meetings include President Obama's first face to face encounters with the Russian and Chinese Presidents where all are hoping for a fresh start. And getting off on the right foot with the new American President is high on everyone's priority. His officials say he wants to listen as well as lead in London. Gordon Brown will be hoping the Obama charm will be enough to save his summit from disappointment.

Bridget Kendall, BBC News, London

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Vocabuarly

The stakes are high
a lot depends on the outcome of these meetings
to forge
to make or produce (something difficult)
cracks are beginning to emerge
problems are starting to become obvious
watered down
when an idea or opinion is intentionally made to appear less important, usually so other people will be more likely to accept it (similar meaning to 'dilute')
pre-summit bluster
someone speaking in an angry and argumentative way (with little effect) prior to the summit starting
to jump-start growth
to try to make the economy grow (quickly and suddenly)
holding out
waiting until they get what they want
increased clout
more power and influence
face to face encounters
meetings in person
getting off on the right foot
beginning a relationship in the right way, making a good impression

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