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West Wing Briefing

A guide to Obama's weekend at the G-20 summit

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By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 25, 2010; 11:11 AM

Canada, eh?

President Obama arrived in Canada Friday morning for a three-day summit with world leaders to discuss the global economy and what can be done to keep it from plunging back into recession.

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My colleagues Howard Schneider and Scott Wilson have already provided a substantive primer to the big issues that the leaders will face, so I thought I'd offer a kind of guide to the weekend, for those of you who want to follow along. As always with the president's schedule, everything here is subject to change. But it should give you a sense of the kind of "mix business with pleasure" weekend these things can be.

Day 1

Friday is G8 day -- a gathering of the elite group of the world's really big economies -- at the Deerhurst Resort, in Muskoka, Canada. Participants include France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and the United States.

There will be a working lunch (likely a lot more formal than Thursday's outing by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to an Arlington burger joint), a "Family Photo," a session with African Outreach leaders and a special youth meeting before the big G8 summit working dinner Friday night.

Day 2

By Saturday, the G8 will have given way to the G20, a broader gathering of countries that Obama has pushed to become the primary body to address global economic concerns.

The G20 includes representation from the European Union and 19 individual nations, including developing powerhouses China and India. The others are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil,, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

Obama will spend most of his day at the Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto, where he will participate in a series of one-on-one (bilateral) meetings with some of the world leaders, something officials call a "bilat."

This time, the president will meet with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea, and President Hu Jintao of China.

There will be a formal photo with Canada's First Family and then a "working dinner" with the leaders of the G20 nations.

Day 3

The meat of the G20 comes Sunday, the last day of the summit, with a series of plenary sessions at which officials hope to hammer out greater agreement about how to confront ongoing global economic worries.

Obama will have breakfast with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono -- meager consolation after Obama twice canceled planned visits to Indonesia to deal with crises at home (first, a legislative fight over health care and, more recently, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill).

There will be more "family photos," another youth meeting and another working lunch. In between, Obama will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan.

Before leaving, Obama will hold a full news conference in Canada, giving reporters their first chance to ask him questions about the weekend's events.


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