- Associated Press - Monday, January 10, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama says the U.S. and France must work together this year to address pressing financial issues as the world climbs out of economic crisis.

Speaking in the Oval Office alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr. Obama said he looks forward to working with France to help frame the agenda for the upcoming G-8 and G-20 economic summits. France currently holds the presidency of both groups and will host the summits later this year.

Mr. Sarkozy said he recognizes the importance of the dollar to the global economy, but wants to work with the U.S. to address currency imbalances. Mr. Sarkozy said he thinks the global monetary system should not rely so heavily on the dollar as the world’s main reserve currency. He has not proposed specifics for an alternative future system.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Sarkozy said they also discussed terrorism, Iran and the recent independence referendum in southern Sudan.

There are no announcements expected during his visit, but Mr. Sarkozy hopes to use talks with Mr. Obama and other world leaders to present his plans for a G-20 meeting scheduled this month.

Leaders from the G-8 countries, including Mr. Obama, are expected to attend a summit in May in the seaside Normandy resort town of Deauville, France. Talks are expected to focus on green growth, innovation and partnership with Africa.

Over lunch with Mr. Obama, Mr. Sarkozy is also is likely to discuss political issues including Iran, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Ivory Coast.

French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy plans to dine separately with American first lady Michelle Obama. Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Finance Minister Christine Lagarde also will be attending.

Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report.


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