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G20 summit: Putin leaves before final communique

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RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has left the
G20 summit in Australia before it officially ends.
He faced fierce criticism from Western leaders
on Saturday over the Ukraine conflict but
described the summit as constructive and
useful.
World leaders are focusing on economic growth
on the second and final day of the summit in
Brisbane.
They are due to declare a commitment to
growing their economies by 2% more than
expected by 2018.
Mr Putin said he was leaving before the release
of the official communique on Sunday because
of the long flight to Russia and he wanted to get
some sleep.
The Russian president said: “Some of our views
do not coincide, but the discussions were
complete, constructive and very helpful”.
US President Barack Obama is due to meet
European leaders to discuss a co-ordinated
response to what they see as Russia’s
destabilisation of Ukraine.
On Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper, US President Barack Obama and British
Prime Minister David Cameron all sharply
criticised Mr Putin.
The Kremlin denies that it has sent military
forces or heavy weapons to pro-Russia rebels in
eastern Ukraine. The US and the European
Union have put in place a series of sanctions
against Russia since its annexation of Crimea
from Ukraine in March.
In a television interview on Saturday, Mr Putin
called for an end to sanctions, saying they
harmed the world economy as well as Russia.
Finance ministers from G20 countries drew up
plans in February to boost global growth by 2%
in five years.
The BBC’s James Landale in Brisbane says this is
“a pretty ambitious target” for many G20
countries that are struggling with recession or
little growth.
The key question is what the G20 actually agrees
to do to meet this target, our correspondent
says.
How it is achieved will be announced later on
Sunday in the “Brisbane Action Plan”.
“We cannot rest, the world needs growth,” Joe
Hockey, Australia’s Treasurer said. Climate
change is expected to be mentioned in the G20
leaders’ final communique on Sunday, following
pressure from the US and European leaders.
In other developments, President Obama met
the leaders of Japan and Australia on the
sidelines of the summit and they called for the
peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in the
South China Sea.
Mr Obama warned on Saturday that Asia’s
security must not be based on intimidation of
small nations by big ones, but on mutual
alliances.
He did not mention China explicitly but he
warned of the dangers posed by territorial
disputes in the South China Sea, where Beijing’s
actions have raised concern among its
neighbours.
Mr Obama said there was “no question” over his
commitment to Asia-Pacific allies.
Meanwhile, G20 leaders released a statement in
which they vowed to do all they could to
“extinguish” the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
It said that member states were committed to
do what was necessary “to ensure the
international effort can extinguish the outbreak
and address its medium-term economic and
humanitarian costs”.

The Guardian.

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