Obama discusses debt-crisis, Syria with Spain, Italy

August 9th, 2011 - 6:59 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) US President Barack Obama called up leaders of Spain and Italy over the euro zone debt crisis and the situation in Syria, the White House stated.

In his separate phone calls to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Obama talked about the latest developments in the euro zone crisis, Xinhua reported Tuesday.

“The president welcomed the measures pursued by Spain and Italy to address their immediate economic challenges and improve their competitiveness,” the White House stated.

The debt crisis in the euro zone, which started in Greece, is spreading to Italy and Spain, the euro zone’s third- and fourth-largest economies.

Berlusconi promised to bring forward an austerity budget plan, aiming to achieve a balanced budget by 2013, a year ahead of the original schedule, while Spain has launched reforms to strengthen bank balance sheets, cut spending, open up the labour market, raise the retirement age and sell off assets.

On Syria, the three leaders condemned the Syrian government’s “continued use of indiscriminate violence” against the Syrian people, and agreed to consult further on additional steps to pressure the government and support the Syrian people’s “democratic aspirations,” the White House said.

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