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G8 summit opens in Canada's Muskoka

06-26-2010 08:14 BJT

HUNTSVILLE, Canada, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The annual Group of Eight (G8) summit opened on Friday in Huntsville, Canada's Muskoka region, with leaders of the world's eight major industrialized countries set to discuss key challenges related to development and international peace and security.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (front R) is flanked by G-8 leaders as they stroll down a path on their way to pose for the leaders' group photo at the G-8 Summit in Huntsville, Ontario, on June 25, 2010. Clockwise on the rear row are: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Anglea Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Clockwise on the front row are European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Xinhua/Pool)
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (front R) is flanked by G-8 leaders as they
stroll down a path on their way to pose for the leaders' group photo at the G-8
Summit in Huntsville, Ontario, on June 25, 2010. Clockwise on the rear row are:
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Italian President Silvio
Berlusconi, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Anglea Merkel and French
President Nicolas Sarkozy. Clockwise on the front row are European Council President
Herman Van Rompuy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister David
Cameron, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen 
Harper. (Xinhua/Pool)

The Muskoka 2010 G8 summit, with the theme of "Recovery and New Beginnings," gathered British Prime Minister David Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and U.S. President Barack Obama.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy also joined the meeting, representing the European Union which has enjoyed observer status since 1977.

Heads of state or government from Algeria, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Jamaica, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa were also invited to participate in the meeting.

At around 12:30 p.m. local time Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Harper, whose country holds the rotating G8 presidency, appeared at the entrance of the summit venue, the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, to greet the G8 and EU leaders on red carpet one by one. They shook hands and posed for pictures before entering the venue for a working lunch.

Key topics to be discussed during the summit include the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), maternal, newborn and child health, food security, aid to Africa, and accountability of international forums including the G8 itself. 

The Iranian nuclear issue, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and progress in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East are also expected to feature in the leaders' discussions about international peace and security.

Multiple working sessions, including one with the African outreach leaders and another with the African outreach and the extended outreach leaders, will take place during the summit.

This year's summit is scheduled to end by Saturday noon, and will be followed immediately by a summit of the Group of 20 (G20), or the 20 major developed and emerging economies which account for 90 percent of global output, 80 percent of world trade and two- thirds of the world's population, in Canada's largest city Toronto on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

It is the first time for the two important summits to be held back to back in one country. This assumes special significance as the G20, although 24 years younger than the G8 -- originally G6 upon its founding in 1975 -- and only holding its fourth summit since 2008, has become increasingly influential in world economic and financial governance in the wake of the global financial crisis and ensuing economic recession.

Some observers say that with the G20 quickly emerging as the world's premier forum for international economic cooperation and policy coordination, the G8 needs to review and probably redefine its traditional role as a leader and pacesetter in global affairs.


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