Syria dispute set to overshadow G20 talks on economy

Wed Sep 4, 2013 4:48pm EDT
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* Obama, Putin trade barbs ahead of summit

* G20 loses cohesion as economic crisis manager

* Emerging markets fret over dollar resurgence

By Timothy Heritage

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, Sept 5 (Reuters) - A potential showdown over Syria between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia's Vladimir Putin could overshadow a meeting of world leaders on Thursday on how to revive the global economy.

At a summit which Putin is hosting in a tsarist palace outside St. Petersburg, the Group of 20 developed and developing economies will try to forge a united front on growth, trade, banking transparency and fighting tax evasion.

The club that accounts for two-thirds of the world's population and 90 percent of its output is divided over issues such as emerging market turmoil and the Federal Reserve's decision to end its programme of stimulus for the U.S. economy.

But no rift is wider than the one between Obama and Putin over possible military intervention in Syria, and both presidents turned up the volume on Wednesday.

Obama used a visit to Sweden to build his case for a military response to the "barbarism" of a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 which Washington blames on Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.   Continued...