G20 praise for UK austerity measures

TORONTO - England might have been knocked out of the World Cup on Sunday but British prime minister David Cameron can claim a better result for his first G20 summit this weekend.

The Conservative Party leader's approach has been very different than that of his predecessor, Gordon Brown, whom he succeeded last month. Cameron has preferred what he calls "quiet diplomacy" to Brown's more strident approach.

He seems to have got at least some of what he wanted. The joint G20 statement, which foresees differing approaches to economic growth, endorses his coalition government's tough budget measures announced earlier this week.

"I think the British budget has been noticed here in the G20 and has been appreciated," finance minister George Osborne said.

He said the group had formally recognised that "countries with serious fiscal challenges need to accelerate the pace of dealing with them".

Some had predicted tensions with the White House after US President Barack Obama warned recently that G20 leaders should avoid the mistakes of the 1930s and not withdraw stimulus too soon. That apparently did not happen.

According to an aide, Obama singled out Cameron at the leaders' dinner on Saturday to praise his action. The two had agreed it was a case of different strokes for different folks. Their long-term goals, Obama said, were the same - jobs and growth.

British officials could not hide their glee when Cameron was offered a ride on Obama's helicopter, Marine One, back from the G8 summit in Huntsville to the G20 gathering in Toronto on Saturday. - Reuters