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Prime Minister Stephen Harper is urging G20 nations to keep trade markets open, strengthen banking regulations and nurture a sustained and balanced recovery from the world economic crisis.

Harper was addressing "sherpas," the senior bureaucrats who are holding two days of meetings in Ottawa to lay out the agenda for June's economic summit in Toronto.

The prime minister told the negotiators recovery is by no means fully assured, and he says the G20 will be judged not just by its ability to respond to crisis, but also "its capacity to lead the world through recovery and beyond."

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Mr. Harper says it's natural and expected for countries to defend their national interests, but he says those must be "enlightened" and take into account the overall, long-term needs of the global economy.

He says G20 nations must deliver on measures already agreed to at meetings in Washington, London and Pittsburgh.

He laid out five guidelines he says the G20's chief negotiators should follow, including balancing stimulus measures with exit strategies, building on a global framework for "balanced and sustainable" growth, advancing reforms to international financial institutions, and keeping markets open.

Canada's G20 sherpa is Len Edwards, deputy minister of foreign affairs and international trade. He is working with Tiff Macklem, an associate deputy minister at the Finance Department, who is Canada's top official for the G7 and has spearheaded global talks on how to reform banks and financial regulations in the wake of the international crisis.

Canada is also hosting the G8 summit this year, in Huntsville, Ont., the day before the G20 summit. The G8 will focus on non-economic issues such as nuclear proliferation, maternal and child health, and food security. There is some overlap between the two organizations when it comes to financing efforts to fight climate change.

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