The leaders of 20 of the world's largest economies will gather today and Saturday in Washington to search for a way out of the biggest global economic meltdown in decades.
What they'll accomplish in a session presided over by President Bush remains to be seen.
So far, the run-up to the Group of 20 summit has been marked by disagreement between European and U.S. officials over how much additional regulation is needed to end the crisis and prevent similar problems.
European leaders have supported more regulations on the financial institutions that have been widely blamed for the credit crunch that's strangling global economies. The Bush administration, however, has warned against interfering too much in economies and opposed creating a global regulator of financial markets.
Never miss a local story.
The leaders of developing countries have complained that the financial turmoil started by irresponsibility in the U.S. and Europe has dragged down their booming economies.
Such debate promises to be the summit's main attraction as world leaders hesitate to take any concrete steps while the Bush administration remains in power. President-elect Obama won't attend the meeting, sending in his place former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, a Republican.
U.S. officials said they'd like to see greater transparency and tighter accountability rules for financial institutions while governments more closely regulate the financial instruments, such as credit default swaps, that helped spark the problems.
European and U.S. leaders also singled out credit-rating agencies as culprits in the crisis that needed an international code of conduct.