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Leaders of G8 industrialized nations will gather in Germany's Baltic resort of Heiligendamm June 6
Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations will gather in Germany's Baltic resort of Heiligendamm June 6, with "growth and responsibility" in the global economy and Africa shaping the summit agenda. Climate protection will be another issue in the program of the three-day annual forum that will convene leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. The summit will be hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is also holding the rotating presidency in the European Union. The previous G8 summit was held in St. Petersburg last July, with energy security, education and fight against infectious diseases declared as its priorities. Russia's G8 Sherpa Igor Shuvalov said last week the 33rd summit in Germany would gather representatives of five countries with the fastest developing economies. "This year, Germany is inviting India, China, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil who were invited last year to St. Petersburg," he said, adding that a special report would also be delivered on how to help African countries join the global economy. Shuvalov, also a Kremlin aide, said the summit would address energy security and its impact on climate change. He said the G8 leaders would sign 10-12 documents, including a joint declaration where focus would be laid on energy security and climate. The declaration would elaborate on "how this key element of development is linked to the changing climate, and how economic growth and technological development can be pursued avoiding global warming above certain levels that could later have irreversible consequences," he said. "This is a large section, which is an important continuation of the initiatives developed in St. Petersburg," Shuvalov said. The Russian Sherpa said the U.S. and Germany were highly likely to reach a compromise on climate change. Washington has refused to sign up to the environmental Kyoto Protocol, which regulates carbon emissions into the atmosphere. "A compromise is possible, as all documents adopted in the G8 are always a result of a compromise," he said, adding that the U.S. had shown signs of progress in its position. The G8 leaders will also discuss nuclear non-proliferation, counterterrorism and several regional conflicts, including Iran, North Korea and the Middle East, Shuvalov said. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a number of bilateral meetings in Heiligendamm. His meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush is most likely to focus on Washington's plans to deploy a missile shield in Central Europe, a decision seen in Moscow as a threat to its national security. In the runup to the G8 summit, Bush has tried to allay Moscow's concerns by saying the missile shield would not target Russia but would be designed as defense against possible threats from Iran or North Korea. Putin, however, responded by saying there was absolutely no rationale behind the American missile plans and warned that Russia would have to set new targets in Europe. Putin will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the Japanese side has said it would raise the issue of the four Kuril Islands, which have been at the center of a bilateral territorial dispute since World War II. Russia officially joined the G8 in 1997 at the initiative of then U.S. President Bill Clinton in appreciation of its declared course toward economic reforms and democratic development.
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