Group speak at the summit

Some of the comments heard inside and outside the G8 and G20 summit in Toronto.

    G8 leaders met with African outreach world leaders during the G8 Summit in Huntsville [Reuters]

    The Group of 20 meeting in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday, brings together major rich and developing countries to discuss the next steps after the worst financial crisis in 80 years.

    Global leaders and others at the summit, which began with a separate meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) richest countries on Friday, had this to say on some of the issues: 

    Barack Obama, the US president

    On the need to coordinate G20 policies to strengthen the global economy:
    "We need to act in concert for a simple reason: this crisis proved and events continue to affirm that our national economies are inextricably linked."

    Angela Merkel, the German chancellor

    On how best to assure sustained economic health in the aftermath of the financial crisis:
    "Germany and the European Union have a firm position: we have had large economic programmes ... we have now returned to robust growth-rates and so it is time to reduce deficits."

    "Intelligent saving and sustainable growth need not be a contradiction."

    "We all have a common responsibility for structural reforms ... the discussion was not controversial, but was based on great mutual understanding."

    David Cameron, the British prime minister

    On why some countries need to get a handle on their debt and deficit problems quickly:
    "The risk to us, and the Americans and others recognise this, is not taking action. The G8 will actually conclude that those countries with the worst problems need to accelerate their action, which is what we have done."

    On rich nations not delivering on their aid promises:

    "I think it is frustrating that world leaders sign up to things and then don't deliver them and we have to make sure that happens. We made promises back in Gleneagles. We should stick to those promises."

    Angel Gurria, OECD's secretary general

    On the tensions between economic recovery and budget austerity:
    "It's not a dilemma. It's a fool's dilemma. You have to do both."

    "If there's a fire we all know what to do. We get a hose, we get a pail of water, spit on it, throw Coca Cola on it or whatever to put it out. Right now the fire's over.

    "We saved the house, mostly, but you've got to paint it, plaster it, whatever."

    Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European commission

    On Europe's priorities for the next stage of the economic recovery:
    "This will not be a drastic change overnight but there is no room for more deficit spending. The last few months have shown us. Without fiscal consolidation we spend our way into a new crisis."

    "Fiscal tightening is not an end in itself. It is a way to restore confidence."

    On the need for the G8 rich countries to deliver unmet aid pledges to the world's poor:

    "We have to say today we have not met all the commitments ... if we want to be successful we'll have to speed up our work." 

    Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister

    On launching a new call for funds to support mother-and-child health in the developing world:

    "Canada led the way in mobilising support among G8 and non-G8 leaders, key donors and private foundations for this initiative to reduce the mortality rates of mothers and their children. We have been successful." 

    Labour activist at an Anti-G20 protest in Toronto

    On why demonstrators are angry:

    "Police are the shock troops of austerity - don't be afraid, don't be intimidated."

    "Down with the G20 and everything it stands for!"

    Henry Malumo, ActionAid's Africa spokesman

    On development groups' disappointment at the outcome of the talks:

    "Yet again the G8 are making pledges good enough for a photo call but insufficient to meet the needs of the millions of people living in poverty worldwide.

    "Until the G8 deliver on their past promises, it is hard to believe in new ones."

    Naoto Kan, the Japanese prime minister

    On promises of aid over five years to prevent mothers and newborns from dying:

    "The biggest threat to  maternal, newborn and child health is that pregnant women and nursing mothers die before getting proper treatment.

    "We want to focus aid so that women have continued access to treatment and services, before and after giving birth."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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