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The central event of the world political season begins in Scotland on Wednesday
The leaders of the Group Eight (G8), accommodated in de luxe suites of the famous Gleneagles golf complex between July 6 and 8, will take part in the 31st summit of the world’s leading countries. British Prime Minister Tony Blair will play host to French President Jacques Chirac, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President George W. Bush, German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, as well as Chairman of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. Queen Elizabeth II will give an evening reception for them. Britain, which hosted the G8 summits in 1977, 1984, 1991 and 1998, and which is again holding a rotating presidency in G8, chose two main problems to be put on the agenda of the summit: dangerous global changes of the climate and help to the poorest African countries. The leaders of China, India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil were invited to the summit to take part in the discussion of global climatic changes. Those countries are regarded as potential economic leaders in the 21st century. Presidents of South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Algeria, Egypt, Ghana and Senegal were invited to take part in the discussion on the problem of assistance to the poorest African countries. Leaders of the United Nations Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the African Union will join them on various stages of the discussion. The first meeting in the format, which is known today as Group Eight (G8), was held in 1975, when Valery Giscard d’Estaigne, then President of France, invited the leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain and Italy to Ramboillet, near Paris, to discuss economic problems. Canada joined that exclusive club in 1976, and Russia gradually joined it in the 90s. Unlike other international organisations, G8 has neither clear structure, nor a permanent staff. The country, which holds rotating presidency in G8 over the past year, usually takes upon itself the organisation of a regular summit and the making up of its agenda. The rotating presidency in G8 will go to Russia for the first time in 2006. The leaders discuss at G8 summits the most burning world problems and work out informal agreements on their solution. The drafting of documents for the current summit continued up to the last day. Special representatives of the G8 leaders had a meeting in Britain last weekend. Igor Shuvalov, representative of the Russian President, said the documents “could be slightly altered by the leaders themselves, who are going to adopt statements on all the items on the agenda of the summit.” “President Putin chaired a large meeting on June 29, devoted to preparations for the summit. The meeting discussed in detail all the controversial issues included in the documents, which have not been settled by today. On the whole, we are ready for the summit. Meanwhile, we shall gradually get prepared for the next summit, to be held in St.Petersburg in 2006, with Russia holding a rotating presidency in G8. The Russian President will announce the agenda of the St.Petersburg summit in Gleneagles. By tradition, the agenda, the date and the venue of the next summit are announced by the leader of the country, which is to play host to it,” Shuvalov said. According to his information, G8 leaders will also discuss in Gleneagles the development of world economy and oil prices. “Those items are not on the official agenda, but they will be included in the discussion. The results of the discussion will depend a lot on the way the participants in the discussion will understand each other,” Shuvalov continued. Aside from it, the leaders will discuss, among other things, the war on terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation, will get back to the discussion of so-called “Greater Middle East” (the U.S. initiative at the Sea Island summit), and will mention any other problems they wish. Tony Blair said it was a great honour for Britain, Perthshire County and Scotland to host the G8 summit. The summit will give a chance to reach international agreement on ways to resolve some of the most complicated world problems, as well as to demonstrate to our guests the beautiful and friendly part of the United Kingdom, he added. Blair admitted that the smooth and safe holding of the G8 summit would create some inconveniences for those who live and work in that area, but assured they would be reduced to the minimum
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