Gregarious Bush reserves very business-like greeting for Rudd

November 15th, 2008 - 4:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Nov 15 (ANI): US President George W Bush greeted world leaders with big smiles and pats on the back, but Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had to make do with a brief handshake and a relatively stony face as the pair posed for photographers and TV crews.

It was the first time the pair have met in person since the controversial leaking of a phone conversation between both men last month, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The normally gregarious Bush gave Rudd a very business-like greeting at the entry to the White House.

The leak controversy centres on a claim in The Australian newspaper on October 25 that the outgoing US president asked Rudd: Whats the G20?, an allegation since denied by both Canberra and Washington.

Adding to the intrigue, the editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, was said to have been at a dinner party at the Prime Ministers Sydney residence, Kirribilli House, on the night in question.

In recent days, Rudd has repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether he or anyone in his office had leaked the information to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Bush has told world leaders the financial crisis will not be resolved overnight at the start of a summit in Washington to discuss the economic problems gripping the globe.

The summit, billed as a first in a series, comes amid growing evidence that the worst international financial crisis in generations is taking a heavy toll on economies around the world.

Bush renewed his call for free and open markets, and laid out five objectives for talks tomorrow and said the meeting would be one in a series.

The US president also hailed coordinated action by countries since the beginning of the crisis.

The crisis blew up last year when the US housing market went into reverse but worsened in September. As banks in the United States and Europe booked losses from their exposure to the US housing market, they stopped lending to each other, sparking a credit crunch.

Created in 1999, the Group of 20 (G20) countries accounts for 85 per cent of the world economy and about two-thirds of its population.

Its members are the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Britain, Canada, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey. Spain and the Netherlands have also been invited. (ANI)

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