WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (AFP) - More than 20 leaders from the world's richest nations and emerging economic powers meet on Friday for a summit amid mounting divisions on how to tackle the global financial crisis.
While US President George W. Bush has made an impassioned defense of the free market system, critics in the rest of the world headed for Washington seeking strengthened regulation of the financial system.
The summit starts late Friday with a working dinner at the White House to set underway discussions on how to stop the crisis turning into a prolonged world recession. The formal talks will be held Saturday.
Bush said Thursday that the world leaders have a clear aim ''to address the current crisis, and to lay the foundation for reforms that will help prevent a similar crisis in the future.''
The G20 summit will also likely discuss coordinated efforts to revive the global economy, after China unveiled a four trillion yuan ($586 billion) economic stimulus plan.
Created in 1999, the Group of 20 countries account for 85 percent of the world economy and about two-thirds of its population.
Its members are the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Britain and Canada, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.
"We cannot expect a miracle from this summit, which was Europe's idea, but will rather see the beginning of a process that will create a finished programme in 100 days,'' European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said an interview with a German daily published Friday.
Bush but sternly warned against imposing widespread regulation.
"The crisis was not a failure of the free market system. And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system,'' Bush said in a speech laying out his agenda for the expanded Group of 20 summit.
"Our aim should not be more government. It should be smarter government,'' he said. It would be ''a terrible mistake to allow a few months of crisis to undermine 60 years of success.''
"Many European countries had much more extensive regulations and still experienced problems almost identical to our own,'' he said. ''We must recognize that government intervention is not a cure-all. …