U.S. President-elect Barack Obama designated Wednesday a bipartisan duo on his behalf to meet foreign leaders attending the G20 summit on Nov. 15 in Washington.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who served under President Bill Clinton, and former Representative Jim Leach, a Republican from Iowa, will get together in "unofficial meetings" with leaders or their advisers from some of the Group of 20 nations (G20) while they are in Washington, Obama's office said.
"This weekend's summit is an important opportunity to hear from the leaders of many of the world's largest economies," it said.
"President Bush should be commended for calling the summit. There is one president at a time, so the president-elect has asked Secretary Albright and Congressman Leach, an experienced and bipartisan team, to be available to meet with and listen to our friends and allies on his behalf," said the statement.
Obama will stay away from Washington over this weekend when world leaders meet here for the G20 summit on financial crisis, a top Obama aide said Tuesday.
Obama's aide said the president-elect will remain in his home town of Chicago for the weekend continuing preparations to enter the White House on Jan. 20 and will host no foreign dignitaries.
Obama has spoken by telephone with a number of world leaders who have offered their congratulations since his election victory on Nov. 4.
Bush proposed the G20 summit on financial markets and the world economy to discuss efforts to halt a spiralling financial crisis that has severely cut growth around the world.
The G20, founded on Sept. 25, 1999 in Washington, is an international forum of finance ministers and central bank governors representing 19 countries -- Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States -- the European Union and the Bretton Woods
institutions namely, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.