Obama, Merkel discuss eurozone crisis

19th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone Monday to discuss the need for action on the eurozone crisis and the Middle East, the White House said.

The leaders had the latest of their frequent conversations before Obama headed to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, likely to be dominated by a Palestinian bid for statehood recognition.

"The two leaders agreed that concerted action would be needed in the months ahead to address the current economic challenges and to assure global economic recovery," said a White House statement.

"They also discussed Middle East peace, and the President thanked the Chancellor for her commitment to the peace process and her personal engagement with the parties to facilitate a return to direct talks."

In a White House statement on a previous call between Merkel and Obama in late August, officials also said the two leaders called for "concerted action" to spur job creation and recovery in the global economy.

Earlier Monday, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the United States had a huge stake in helping Europe find a "more effective strategy" to tackle its financial crisis.

Geithner, just back from a trip to Poland in which he reportedly expressed concern of a "catastrophic risk" to markets from the Greek debt crisis, said at the White House that Europe had the will to combat its challenges.

"We have a huge stake as a country in helping them deal with those challenges. We have a huge economic stake, financial stake.

"So we are working very closely with them and being very supportive and as they try to craft a more effective strategy.

"Is there political will there? I believe there is."

Geithner warned last week in a closed address to bankers meeting in Poland that deepening divisions in the eurozone over the Greek debt crisis posed a "catastrophic risk," Dow Jones Newswires reported.

"What's very damaging is not just seeing the divisiveness in the debate over strategy in Europe but the ongoing conflict between countries and the central bank," he said, warning that "governments and central banks need to take out the catastrophic risk to markets."

© 2011 AFP

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