Leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) wealthiest industrial powers, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, kicked off their annual summit on Wednesday in the northern German Baltic resort of Heiligendamm.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently fulfilling her duties as G8 president, hosted her fellow world leaders at a dinner in a 14th-century palace on the Hohen Luckow estate, some 25 km south-east of the summit venue in Heiligendamm.
The three-day summit should see the 8 delegations' discussions revolve around the issues on climate change, African development, restarting Doha Round of the World Trade Organization, with perhaps the most controversial issue being the long-planned U.S. missile defense shield in Central Europe which has met with stern objections from Russia.
The talks may also broach the volatility in the Middle East, specifically Iran's nuclear program.
Aside from their own talks, the G8 leaders will also conduct two outreach sessions, the first with five major developing countries -- Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, and the other with representatives from African countries -- Algeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.
(Xinhua News Agency June 7, 2007)