News / Economy

G8 Summit Under Way in France

Men work near a G8 backdrop as preparations continue ahead of the G8 summit in Deauville, northern France, May 25, 2011
Men work near a G8 backdrop as preparations continue ahead of the G8 summit in Deauville, northern France, May 25, 2011

The Group of Eight summit is under way in France, with heads of the world's leading economies discussing global issues, including the uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.

U.S. President Barack Obama is using the gathering to reinforce his call for international assistance to help countries in that region adopt political and economic reforms.

One of the president's economic advisers, David Lipton, told reporters Thursday the U.S. considers discussions on the Middle East and North Africa to be "among the most important things" to be done at the summit.

He said G8 leaders will begin the talks at dinner Thursday and meet with the prime ministers of Egypt and Tunisia and the head of the Arab League on Friday morning.  He said the G8 leaders will have a chance to discuss with the three regional representatives their plans and aspirations for change, and ways in which the international community can help.

Obama outlined ways the U.S. will provide economic support to Egypt, Tunisia and other nations transitioning to democracy in a key policy speech last week.  On Wednesday, the European Union said it will increase its aid to 16 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the former Soviet Union, and that the aid will be linked to their progress toward democracy.

Other topics of discussion at this week's G8 gathering in the French resort town of Deauville include Japan's nuclear crisis and the world economy.

President Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Thursday on the sidelines of the summit.  Obama said the two countries agreed to work on the contentious issue of U.S. plans to build a missile defense shield in Central and Eastern Europe.  He said they committed to working together to find an approach that is "consistent with the security needs of both countries."

Speaking to reporters alongside Obama, Medvedev said the missile defense issue would be solved by future politicians, but that he and Obama could lay the foundation now.

The two leaders also discussed Russia's bid to enter the World Trade Organization.  President Obama said Russia's entry would be good for the economy and expressed confidence it could be done.

The Russian president announced with his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, an agreement for France to sell four warships to Russia.  The leaders told reporters at the G8 summit that the deal would be signed within two weeks.  Under the agreement, two of the Mistral-class helicopter carriers will be built in France and the other two in Russia.

Sarkozy is chairing the G8 gathering.  It is the first major world meeting since former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned after being charged with trying to rape a hotel maid in New York City.  It is unclear who will replace him.

President Obama came to France after a state visit to Britain, where he met with Prime Minister David Cameron.  The two leaders reaffirmed their stance on Libya, saying allied military operations there will continue until leader Moammar Gadhafi stops attacking civilians and gives up power.

At a joint news conference Wednesday in London, President Obama said there will be no letup in the pressure on Gadhafi.  He later told the British parliament that the U.S., Britain and their allies "stopped a massacre in Libya" and will not relent until what he called "the shadow of tyranny" is lifted.

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

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.