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G-20 summit ends with little accomplished

CANNES, France -- The G-20 summit ended in disarray Friday without additional outside money to ease Europe's debt crisis, but with new jitters about Italy clouding a plan to prevent Greece from defaulting.

In Athens, Greece's prime minister survived a confidence vote in parliament early Saturday, 153-145, calming a revolt in his Socialist party with a pledge to seek an interim government that would secure a vital new European debt deal.

In the end, vague offers to increase the firepower of the International Monetary Fund -- at some later date -- were all the eurozone leaders were able to take home after two days of tumultuous talks.

With their own finances already stretched from bailing out Greece, Ireland and Portugal -- and the United States and other allies wrestling with their own problems -- eurozone countries had been looking to the IMF to help line up more financing to prevent the debt crisis from spreading to larger economies such as Italy and Spain.

Italy's fate in particular is crucial to the eurozone, because its economy -- the third-largest in the currency union -- would be too expensive to bail out. The implications for the world economy are stark: The debt crisis that has rocked the 17-nation eurozone threatens to push the world economy into a second recession.

European leaders could point to one potential catastrophe averted: They stared down Greece's prime minister and berated him into scrapping a referendum that threatened their European bailout plan. Greece's politics are in upheaval as a result, but the shaky bailout plan appears to be back on track -- for now.

"We want Europe to work," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on French TV when the summit was over. "I think today we can have confidence . . . but that's not to say our troubles are behind us."

In the end, the Greek question completely derailed Sarkozy's aim of using the summit to show that Europe had sorted out its debt problem once and for all.

In the space of days, the already shrunken list of goals set by France to close out its year as head of the G-20 was scrapped, replaced by a nearly constant stream of shocking new developments and reversals in Europe's long-running attempt to get control of Greece's debt crisis.

The drama in Athens horrified its European partners, spooked global markets and overshadowed the summit in Cannes. The threat of a Greek default or exit from the common euro currency has worsened the continent's debt crisis.

When the week started, Europe had finally reached an intricate, ambitious and fragile deal to try to rescue Greece and contain the crisis. The G-20 summit was supposed to solidify and clarify the deal.

Then Monday night, Prime Minister George Papandreou shocked his European partners and domestic allies by announcing he would put the plan to a referendum. Markets panicked, as did many of the leaders coming to Cannes.

Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a series of frenzied meetings, then summoned Papandreou on Wednesday. If you lose this referendum, you could lose the euro, they told him. And they froze a new $11 billion loan that Greece will soon need to pay government salaries.

On Thursday, Papandreou backed down, but the U-turn left his 2-year-old government teetering.

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