Obama, Merkel discuss financial reform, EU stabilization

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US and German leaders discussed Saturday the importance of coordinating regulatory matters and boosting economic growth ahead of next month's G20 summit of major economies in Toronto.

In a 10-minute telephone call, US President Barack Obama also congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the parliament's vote Friday to approve Germany's share of a trillion-dollar emergency rescue package to protect debt-stricken European Union members, the White House said.

Berlin is to provide up to around 150 billion euros (188 billion dollars) of the 750-billion-euro (938-billion-dollar) "shock and awe" emergency package of loan guarantees.

Merkel, meanwhile, applauded the US Senate's passage this week of the most sweeping financial reforms in decades. Democrats in both houses of Congress have pledged to put a final version of the rules on Obama's desk within weeks.

With the United States leading efforts to slap a fourth round of UN Security Council resolutions on Tehran, Obama and Merkel discussed "ongoing coordination on the international community's concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program," the White House said.

The move targets Iran's continued defiance of international demands to halt uranium enrichment and be more transparent about its civilian nuclear program, which the West and its allies say is a cover to produce nuclear weapons.

Obama telephoned Merkel on his flight home after delivering a commencement address at the US Military Academy at West Point in New York state.

© 2010 AFP

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