CANNES, France — President Obama was greeted at the G-20 summit in this seaside resort Thursday with a plea by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to get more involved in resolving Europe’s spiraling debt crisis.
“We need the leadership of Barack Obama,” Mr. Sarkozy said after the two leaders huddled to start the meeting of the world’s industrialized and large, developing nations. “We need the solidarity and support of the United States of America.”
Mr. Obama steadfastly has maintained that the European Union has the resources to resolve the debt burdens of Greece and other nations without outside help. But EU officials seeking the cash to boost their bailout fund to $1.4 trillion are asking for investments from China, Japan and other sources.
“We spent most of our conversation focused on strengthening the global economic recovery so we’re creating jobs for our people and stabilizing the financial markets around the world,” Mr. Obama said. “The most important aspect of our task over the next two days is to resolve the financial crisis here in Europe.”
Prior to the summit, Mr. Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and convinced him to abandon his call for a referendum in Greece on the bailout, sending relieved markets on both sides of the Atlantic up for the day.
That plan provides Greece with a second International Monetary Fund bailout and requires bondholders to accept a 50 percent writedown on the value of Greek debt.
And while Mr. Obama pledged his support to find a solution, White House aides made clear the U.S. is not contemplating an infusion of American cash for the bailout.
“Central to our discussions at the G-20 is how we achieve better global work and put people back to work. That means we’re gonna have to resolve the situation here in Europe,” Mr. Obama said. “And without Angela’s leadership, we wouldn’t already have made the progress that we’ve seen.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner raised the issue Thursday in a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Huang Ju.