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Berlusconi to talk regulation with Obama before G8

world Updated: May 31, 2009 21:28 IST
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who currently chairs the G8 group of industrial nations, said on Sunday he would meet US President Barack Obama on June 15 to discuss new rules to regulate the world economy.

Berlusconi, under scrutiny in Italy for his relationship with a teenage girl, is due to host a G8 summit in early July which will focus on efforts to curb the global economic downturn and to tackle climate change.

"On June 15, I will visit Obama for talks on new rules for the global economy and financial system," Berlusconi told Italian state television, announcing his trip to Washington. "I would say it will be a mini G8."

The financial crisis which struck the world economy last year has prompted governments around the world to review the regulations governing the international banking system and financial markets.

The European Union last week proposed creating regulatory bodies to oversee financial supervision across national borders and provide an early warning of any future credit crunch.

Leaders of the G20 group of rich and developing nations agreed in April to broaden the membership of the Financial Stability Forum, renamed as the Financial Stability Board, with a stronger mandate to set guidelines and monitor supervision, including tighter regulation of hedge funds and derivatives.

It will be the first bilateral meeting between the two leaders since Obama took office in January.

Berlusconi, who decided to hold the G8 summit in the central Italian city of L'Aquila devastated by an earthquake in April, drew criticism for praising Obama as "handsome, young and suntanned" after his historic election in November as the United States' first Black president.

At April's G20 meeting in Britain, Berlusconi startled Queen Elizabeth by shouting out to the US president after a group photo: "Mr Obama! It's Berlusconi!"

Berlusconi's personal life has been thrust into public scrutiny since he was photographed attending the 18th birthday party of Noemi Letizia last month, where he gifted her an expensive necklace.

His wife Veronica Lario promptly demanded a divorce because of his womanising, but Berlusconi has denied any 'steamy affair' and said he has known the girl's family for years.

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