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G8 Officials See 'Signs of Stabilization'

Finance ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations say their economies are showing "signs of stabilization," but the world's financial situation is still uncertain.

In a statement Saturday after a two-day meeting in Italy, the G8 ministers said risks to stability remain and warned that unemployment might continue to increase even after growth resumes.

The ministers said they have started to consider how to unwind economic stimulus measures once a recovery is certain and asked the International Monetary Fund to study possible strategies.

They also highlighted their commitment to provide more stimulus if needed, as long as it does not risk driving up inflation or leading state budgets into further deficit.

The meeting of Italy, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States was aimed at finding middle ground ahead of a summit of national G8 leaders scheduled for July.

The G8 nations have been divided over how to handle stimulus spending.

Canada and Germany say early signs of recovery suggest governments should prepare to scale back spending and debts, while the U.S. and other nations say it is too soon to abandon rescue plans as recovery is not yet ensured.

There also have been divisions over a call for "stress tests" to check the financial stability of European banks, with the U.S. behind the idea, but some European countries resisting. Saturday's statement did not make specific mention of stress testing, saying only that nations would take needed actions to ensure the soundness of banks.

As the ministers met Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators rallied in protest, waving flags and banners and calling for an end to debt.