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G-8 Leaders Focus on Global Economic Growth - 2003-06-02

Leaders of the world's major industrialized countries are focusing on ways to stimulate global economic growth as they continue their discussions in the French alpine resort of Evian. U.S. President George W. Bush is leaving the G-8 summit early to personally engage in Middle East peacemaking.

The G-8 leaders devoted their first session of the summit's second day to the worrisome state of the global economy. Japan is experiencing deflation, and Germany has already entered a recession that could affect its European partners.

Diplomats at the summit say the G-8 leaders will seek to shore up confidence in prospects for economic recovery. But world markets are nervously waiting to see if they dare confront what Europeans see as an ominous slide in the dollar.

A second session Monday will deal with threats to international security like weapons proliferation. That will be followed by a brief one-on-one meeting between President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac, the most outspoken critic of the U.S.-led Iraq war. The two men have been polite to each other at the summit, but diplomats say tensions between the two countries remain.

Anti-globalization protesters have been kept away from Evian, but some of them fought running battles Sunday night with Swiss police in nearby Geneva, looting stores and trashing gasoline stations.