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Backgrounder: Key facts about G8 summit

06-25-2010 13:20 BJT

BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The Group of Eight (G8) summit will be held Friday and Saturday in Muskoka, some 300 km north of Canada's largest city of Toronto.

The following are some key facts about the summit:

The G8, which evolved from the G7, consists of the world's eight leading industrialized nations: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia.

In November 1975, in the wake of the worst global economic crisis since World War II, leaders of France, the United States, the then West Germany, Japan, Britain and Italy gathered in France for their first economic summit to discuss the global economic situation and coordinate policies to revive their economies.

The group of the six developed countries welcomed Canada as the club's seventh member at the second summit held in San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico in June 1976, and thus G7 came into being. Since then, G7 members held their summit annually hosted by a rotating presidency.

In July 1991, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was invited to hold talks with the G7 leaders following the close of the summit in London. Russia's participation continued in this way till it was finally granted the right to join discussions on political issues in 1994, forming the "7+1" mechanism.

The G7 summit became a G8 event in the U.S. city of Denver in June 1997, when then Russian President Boris Yeltsin was invited to fully participate in the summit, and the final communique was issued in the name of the eight leaders for the first time, implying the G8's replacement of the "7+1" mechanism.

In the following year, Russia became an official member of G8. It gained the right in 2002 to host the 2006 summit. However, Russia's participation has long been limited to political issues and a de facto G7 system still remains.

Traditionally, the summit mainly deals with economic issues and coordinates member states' macroeconomic policies. However, political issues were put on the agenda in the late 1980s. Discussions during the annual summit now cover economy, politics, security and poverty alleviation.

Among the issues expected to be discussed at this year's summit will be the global economic crisis, peace and security, climate change, energy, development, the Iranian nuclear issue and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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