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G7 leaders meet in Italy for Ukraine-dominated talks

G7 leaders meet in Italy for Ukraine-dominated talks
G7 leaders meet in Italy for Ukraine-dominated talks


G7 leaders meet in Italy for Ukraine-dominated talks

Small boats are moored in the port of Bari, Puglia, June 11, 2024. Leaders of wealthy G7 countries are meeting this week near Bari, southern Italy, amid political and global unrest , with strengthening support for Ukraine at the top of the agenda. . (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

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Leaders of wealthy G7 countries are meeting this week in southern Italy amid political and global unrest, with boosting support for Ukraine at the top of their agenda.

US President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are among the Group of Seven leaders who will travel to the luxury Borgo Egnazia resort in Puglia for the June 13-15 summit.

It comes at a sensitive time, with wars raging in Ukraine and Gaza and with Biden, Macron and Britain's Rishi Sunak all facing elections in the coming weeks and months.

In view of global challenges, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the host, also invited a dozen non-G7 heads of government, from Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan to India's Narendra Modi.

Pope Francis will also come Friday to talk about artificial intelligence.

Support for Ukraine –

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take part in a debate on Thursday on Russia's war against his country, now in its third year, where he will again push for more aid from Western allies.

G7 leaders hope to reach an agreement on using profits from interest on 300 billion euros ($325 billion) of frozen Russian central bank assets to help Kyiv.

The idea is to use profits as collateral for a loan of up to $50 billion, but there is still debate over who would issue the debt as well as a series of technical questions – including what would happen if assets were thawed in the country. peace event.

John Kirton, director of the G7 research group at the University of Toronto, said he expected a deal.

“This issue was a significant test of the summit's performance in the face of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, so G7 leaders will not overdo it,” he told AFP.

The leaders are also expected to discuss their concerns over China's support for Russia's military expansion.

While the summit officially lasts three days, the sessions end on Friday, with Zelensky and some other leaders heading to a conference on Ukraine in Switzerland on Saturday.

Biden will not attend, sending Vice President Kamala Harris instead.

-'Difficult time' –

The summit of G7 leaders, including Germany's Olaf Scholz and Canada's Justin Trudeau, comes at a “particularly difficult time on the international scene”, an Italian government source said.

The Hamas-Israel war is now in its ninth month, and the conflict will be discussed at the summit as part of a broader debate on the Middle East. G7 leaders approved a draft peace deal last week.

Tensions in the Indo-Pacific region will also be on the agenda in Puglia, as will economic security, including growing trade tensions with China over green technology.

Non-G7 guests will participate in an “awareness session” on Friday afternoon.

They were expected to include Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Erdogan and Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose country holds this year's rotating presidency of the G20, Argentina's Javier Milei, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank also been invited.

All guests are invited to a dinner on Friday evening at the luxury resort Borgo Egnazia built in the style of a traditional village, an evening which will also include a short artistic performance.

Security is extremely tight and the venue is far from protesters and journalists, with the media center located around 60 kilometers away in Bari.

Migration, Africa –

Migration and relations with Africa are two priorities for Meloni for the summit, and she has invited the leaders of Kenya, Algeria and the African Union.

On climate change, G7 environment ministers already committed in April to phasing out coal-fired power plants by the mid-2030s, while giving them some room for maneuver.

The Group of Seven is a political forum of largely like-minded democracies, but their economic clout is not what it once was – and without China, some question its relevance.

This could be the last G7 summit for many participants.

Biden is re-elected in November, while Britain's Sunak will face voters on July 4, when his conservatives are expected to lose power.

Macron also faces domestic difficulties: On Sunday he called early parliamentary elections after his centrist alliance was routed by the far right in weekend elections to the European Parliament.

In contrast, Meloni's far-right party, the Brothers of Italy, topped the vote in Italy.

France Media Agency




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