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‘What’s G20?’ Bush asked Aussie PM

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd came under fire on Sunday for reportedly leaking embarrassing details of a phone call with US President George W Bush.

world Updated: Nov 03, 2008 00:29 IST

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd came under fire on Sunday for reportedly leaking embarrassing details of a phone call with US President George W Bush.

During the call to discuss the global financial crisis on October 10, Bush reportedly responded to a suggestion by Rudd for a summit of the G20 group by saying, “What’s the G20?”

The alleged exchange, reported by The Weekend Australian to have taken place as Rudd took the call during a dinner party at his official Sydney residence, has been denied by both Washington and Rudd’s office.

But the leader of the opposition Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull, said Rudd should apologise. The alleged exchange was leaked “in a way that was clearly authoritative, that clearly came from the prime minister’s office”, Turnbull said.

The briefing was “designed to embarrass the US, and in particular the president, and of course to make Mr Rudd particularly knowledgeable,” Turnbull said.

The G20, a grouping of the world’s largest industrialised and emerging economies, will meet in Washington on November 15, at Bush’s invitation, to discuss the financial crisis.