G8 Summit: World Leaders To Talk Economy, Iran
(RFE/RL) -- The world's most powerful leaders are in Italy for a Group of Eight
(G8) summit set to be dominated by the economic crisis, climate change, and
Iran's postelection turmoil.
The summit is to begin with G8 leaders charting their latest moves in tackling
the economic crisis.
This was a crisis, after all, that largely originated in the G8 -- made up of
Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States.
But this summit doesn't just involve the G8. Over three days the meetings will
widen to include rapidly growing countries like India, China, and others such as
Egypt, Turkey, and Brazil.
It's a sign the G8 members alone are no longer the dominant voices when it comes
to tackling the main economic issues of the day.
A wider formal grouping that includes major developing countries -- the G20 --
has seen its profile rise amid the economic crisis, with a key meeting in London
That shift of power was acknowledged this week by German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, who said the G20 should be "the genuine forum" to address the world's
Finding Common Ground
Leaders at L'Aquila will try to find common ground on climate change, aid, and
And, pressing international political issues like Iran's postelection turmoil.
G8 foreign ministers meeting in Trieste last month deplored the violence, but in
terms that did not specifically criticize Iranian authorities for the deadly
In L'Aquila for the summit, RFE/RL's Radio Farda correspondent Ahmad Rafat says
any G8 statement on Iran will depend on what was discussed when U.S. President
Barack Obama met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow this week.
Rafat says that in L'Aquila, "everyone is waiting to see what was discussed in
Moscow" because Russia is the only G8 member opposed to "any condemnation of
Iran" and backs Iran.
Citing officials close to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Rafat says
that "the problem in Moscow was not resolved and Russia is against any hard
condemnation of Iran" in L'Aquila.
L'Aquila is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in April. Tens of
thousands of people made homeless by the quake are still living in tents or
The summit leaders will forego high-class accommodation and be housed instead at
the local financial police barracks.
It's a show of solidarity with the earthquake victims. And it's also in keeping,
perhaps, with these austere times of recession.
Aftershocks continue to hit the area, but Prime Minister Berlusconi sought to
quell any safety fears at a pre-summit press conference on July 7.
"We don't believe there is any danger because of any eventual earthquakes, the
citadel of the Guardia di Finanza [financial police] will resist earthquakes,"
But questions other than safety surround the summit.
One is how much it can achieve without Chinese President Hu Jintao, who
cut short his visit because of ethnic unrest in
China is the world's biggest emitter of gases blamed for global warming and Hu's
departure could complicate any summit agreement on climate change.
with news agency material
Copyright (c) 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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