BERLIN, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called here on Tuesday for creating an new international currency system ahead of the G20 summit in London. "We should think about creating a new currency system," Medvedev said at a joint press conference after he held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. "The current system is not ideal," he said. "We cannot develop in the next 10 years if we do not create a new infrastructure including new (currency) systems," he added. Earlier this month, Russia announced an ambitious proposal to overhaul the entire global financial order and even introduce a new supra-national currency to avoid future global financial crisis. "We need to build a foundation for our future work, and ensure that such crises do not happen again," Medvedev said. "We cannot turn our work into just a set of narrow solutions --add some money here, extend something's function there, and say everything's fine... I believe that this approach is wrong. We need an entirely new construction," he added. Both Medvedev and Merkel are heading to London for the G20 summit, which is aimed to explore the remedies for the global economic downturn and restore confidence. Merkel chimed with the idea by saying that Germany and Russia share some common ground in their approaches to tackling the financial crisis. "We hope we hold similar positions as we head for London," she added. Merkel said the G20 summit, to convene on April 2 in London, had to make clear decisions on a new financial architecture. "It is clear that decisions on the new financial architecture must be made," she said. Medvedev stressed that the global financial organizations -- the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank -- were created more than 60 years ago, under entirely different global conditions. "We need to think about how to give them the status of modern, vital institutions," he said. Medvedev warned against protectionist measures adopted by some countries in fighting the ongoing crisis. "Primitive, senseless protectionism that could lead to the closure of markets, trade wars, and the emergence of high walls between countries must be prevented during this period," he said.
On the evening of March 31, 2009 (April 1 in Moscow), U.S. President Barack Obama will be off on his first European trip, packed with summits between April 1 and 7. And each of these summits he will have to walk across a mine area only slightly covered by diplomatic protocol. The G-20 summit on April 2 in London is obviously unlikely to produce the results the world expects. It will fail to produce the required solutions and another one will have to be held later. The NATO Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl (April 3 and 4, 2009) could have been a welcome change after London, had it not been for the allies. They are reluctant to provide the United States with what it needs - additional forces in Afghanistan, the main reason Obama goes to Strasbourg and Kehl. The EU-US summit on April 5 in Prague might also be a disappointment and very similar to the London event. Moreover, the Czech prime minister who holds the rotating EU presidency said two days before Obama's arrival that the U.S. administration's economic stimulus package was a "road to hell." That was unheard-of. America could have taken it from a German or a Frenchman, but the Czech was immediately lectured by the State Department on benefits of minding the country's own internal problems, especially after his own parliament passed a no confidence vote in his own government a week before the London summit. Finally, if even G-8 summits have failed to solve the acute problems, how can they be solved at events with 20 or more participating countries, especially without any binding decisions? Obama's visit to Turkey, the U.S.' and NATO'S most faithful Asian ally, on April 6-7 could have remedied the situation, had it not been for the fact that a new NATO secretary general had to be elected. The current NATO head is stepping down this summer. Turkey, whose all-out support is crucial for the U.S.' plans in Afghanistan, is outraged by the nominated candidate, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Having him top the alliance is seen in Ankara as an affront to the whole Islamic world, after the 2005 scandal over the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in Danish media, as Rasmussen then refused to apologize for the blasphemy or condemn the media outlets in question. However, the front-runner for the top NATO post is supported by Britain, Germany and France. Obama will probably try to talk Ankara into accepting Rasmussen, in exchange for not having to send more troops to Afghanistan. In Istanbul, Obama may even make some sort of statement to the Islamic world to amend for [George W.] Bush's actions which strongly antagonized the Muslims. In short, Obama's trip to Europe will be an ordeal he would have been happy to avoid. One has to admit that Obama has not made any serious blunders to be slammed for. But this is not a good reason to hail him like Europe did when he was a presidential candidate. Europe now knows better than to expect much from the new U.S. president. The White House is not giving much these days. It is now a different Obama, traveling to a different Europe. "Give Obama more time. Then give him hell. The president has had only two months - harsh judgments are premature," a British newspaper wrote a few day's before his trip to Europe.