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Obama to Meet With African Representatives, Pope Friday


U.S. President Barack Obama meets with representatives of African countries on Friday, the final day of an international summit in L'Aquila, Italy.

The president is set to attend a breakfast and discussion with African countries and later a bilateral meeting with South African officials before departing L'Aquila. Later in the day, he will meet with Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican City.

Thursday, Mr. Obama said the 17 industrialized and developing countries attending the summit made important strides in preparing for a December meeting in Copenhagen on climate change. While there was no consensus on targets for emissions of greenhouse gases, the nations did agree on a goal for limiting global warming to just two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.

Also Thursday in L'Aquila, French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned Israel that any strike against Iran would be a catastrophe for the world.

The comment came one day after a Group of Eight statement said leaders are losing patience with Iran's refusal to abandon a suspected nuclear weapons program. The statement also condemned post-election violence in Iran and the arrest of journalists there.

The group also released a statement condemning North Korea's nuclear weapons program and conducting missile tests.

The leaders of the world's eight major industrial countries, and their counterparts from Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, also agreed during their meetings on the need for completing the stalled Doha round of world trade talks by next year.

The Group of Eight comprises the world's major industrialized nations including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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