World has avoided economic disaster, Obama says

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Lasting worldwide recovery "is still a ways off," President Barack Obama declared Friday, but he also said at the conclusion of a global summit that a disastrous economic collapse apparently has been averted.

Obama said world leaders had taken significant measures to address economic, environmental and global security issues.

"Reckless actions by a few have fueled a recession that spans the globe," Obama said of the meltdown that began in the United States with a tumble in housing prices and drastic slowing of business lending. The downturn now threatens superpowers and emerging nations alike.

Obama urged national leaders to unite behind a global recovery plan that includes stricter financial regulation and sustained stimulus spending.

"The only way forward is through shared and persistent effort to combat threats to our peace, our peace, our prosperity and our common humanity wherever they may exist. None of this will be easy," Obama told a news conference at the end of the Group of Eight summit of major economic powers.

The president rejected suggestions that the summit fell short of expectations by failing to call for tough new sanctions on Iran for its crackdown on democracy advocates after its disputed presidential election.

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