Obama: 'Clear signal' of euro support key

Nov. 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- President Obama said he will remain concerned about the financial crisis in Europe until countries send a "clear signal" to the markets that they back the euro.

"Until we put in place a concrete plan and structure that sends a clear signal to the markets that Europe is standing behind the euro and will do what it takes, we're going to continue to see the kinds of turmoil" seen in recent days, Obama said Wednesday during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra.

He said the United States has "consulted very closely" with European leaders about the situation and expressed belief that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel want to solve the crisis.

Some progress has been made with Italy and Greece both proffering unity governments to implement significant reforms, he said.

"But at this point, the larger European community has to stand behind the European project," Obama said. "I think we all understand ... we've got an integrated world economy and what happens in Europe will have an impact on us."

But European leaders must send the signal that "we stand behind the European project, and we stand behind the euro," Obama said. "And those members of the eurozone, they are going to have the liquidity they need to service their debt."

Asked whether the U.S. economic situation may compromise its ability to sustain its plans for Australia and the region, Gillard said, "I'm not going to issue words of advice about the fiscal position in the United States, but the common sense point from the point of view of the leader is, ultimately, budgets are about choices and there are hard choices about the things you value."

Obama's presence in Australia, she said, demonstrates that he "values the role of the United States in this region and our alliance."

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