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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in an interview with RIA Novosti
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in an interview with RIA Novosti on Monday dismissed critics of the Group of Eight major nations, saying there were no plans to dissolve the international forum.

"We are not going to dissolve the G8," said Berlusconi, who is the forum's current chairman, "We want to make it more open for the exchange of ideas, which is vital for promoting common interests."

The G8 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S.

Berlusconi said the so called G5 developing nations Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa, as well as Egypt, "a major Arab nation in Africa," have been invited to attend some of the annual summit meetings in Italy's La Maddalena on July 8-10.

Berlusconi stressed there was no conflict between the format of the G8 and G20, referring to the summit of 20 world leaders taking place in London on April 2, which is due to tackle the ongoing global financial crisis.

"We have made clear distinctions between the issues to be discussed in London and in La Maddalena," Berlusconi said, adding that in London the world leaders would focus on principles of financial regulation, while in Italy the spotlight would be on reforms to international institutions and new rules governing transparency.

Speaking about the current crisis, Berlusconi said: "The crisis broke out over private, not state, debts. The remedy should be found in financial regulations to avoid such crises in the future."

Berlusconi said the agenda for the G8 summit would include terrorism, regional conflicts, food security, energy, climate change, poverty and a new development concept which would now be based on targeted investment.

Critics have called for the club to be disbanded saying the G8 does not fully represent the international community and have pointed to the rich powers' continued disagreements, including on climate change and greenhouse gas targets, with developing nations, which have attended the summits as guests.

G8 summits have been accompanied by demonstrations, with protesters accusing the rich nations of causing poverty through their restrictive trade policies, third world debt and other problems related to globalization.

Labor ministers are currently taking part in a G8 Social Summit, which kicked off in Rome on March 29 and will run until Tuesday, with the Italian presidency planning proposals to support those hardest hit by the economic crisis by supporting the employment market.


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