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G8, G5 leaders meet on economy, climate
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Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries and five leading emerging economies (G5) began their meeting on Thursday to discuss economic issues, climate change, trade and other international affairs.

The leaders of G8 -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Canada and the United States -- joined in discussions with their counterparts from India, China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa to give a push to the recovery of the global economy and enhanced financial supervision.

Egypt also took part in the talks as a guest invited by Italy.

Climate change and the Doha Round talks of the World Trade Organization top the agenda.

The heads of state and government of the two groups held their respective meetings on Wednesday on the same topics.

As the global financial crisis has pushed the world economy into a recession, the G8+G5+1 meeting will discuss ways to ensure an early recovery, and at the same time, prepare for an exit strategy to avoid post-crisis problems caused by over-expansion of public deficits.

Some leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urged governments to put in place strong policy measures once economic recovery is assured.

Since the finanical crisis broke out last year, governments have taken unprecedented and concerted actions to ensure recovery and repair financial systems.

They will also reaffirm their commitment made at the London G20 summit in April to strengthen international financial institutions to prevent the repeat of a similar crisis.

On Wednesday, the G8 leaders pledged to take necessary steps, including further stimulus measures, to return the global economy to a strong, stable and sustainable growth path, adding that fiscal sustainability in the medium term should also be ensured.

The G8 leaders also made progress in drafting a joint system of rules for the global economy, a process that would be continued by the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, United States, in September.

At their meeting on Wednesday, the G5 leaders also discussed the world economy, calling for coordination in dealing with the economic crisis and reforming the international financial system.

In a political declaration, the G5 leaders said the global economic crisis in its multiple dimensions "underscores our fundamental interdependence and the imperative of enhancing cooperation to achieve equitable and sustainable development for all."

They said the world needs a new global governance, the construction of which must be based on inclusive multilaterism, pledging to continue to actively engage in jointly tackling global challenges. They also stressed the need for addressing the global and financial crisis in an integrated manner, and carefully considering its social and development impacts as well as the long-term requirements of stability and sustainability.

On climate change, the two groups are finding it difficult to come up with a new draft deal on climate change in time for the Copenhagen climate summit in December as differences among them remain on emissions cuts.

On Wednesday, the G5 urged the developed countries to fund poor countries to meet their costs in adapting to global warming.

They also urged developed countries to commit themselves to ambitious and comparable quantified emission reduction targets by reducing their emissions in aggregate by at least 40 percent below their 1990 levels by 2020, the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Reaffirming the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and underlining the fundamental role of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, they urged their developed counterparts to "provide measurable, reportable and verifiable technology, financing and capacity building to support and enable developing countries to take nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development."

They also expressed interest in further considering proposals for the establishment of international funding arrangements, including the proposal of Mexico for a Green Fund, and the setting of a climate financing goal for all developed countries to contribute a certain percentage of their annual GDP in addition to official development assistance (ODA), among others, aimed at ensuring adequate, predictable and sustained funding to support nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries.

They called for the establishment of a global mechanism for the development, deployment and transfer of climate-friendly technologies, given their importance in fighting climate change.

The G8 leaders watered down a target of halving greenhouse gas emission by 2050 and only agreed to limit global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Scientists had warned that there would be serious climate consequences if the world's temperature rose more than two degrees Celsius, but the US has been reluctant to accept that threshold.

The G8 leaders also said they were ready, together with others, to achieve the goal of reducing global emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050, without specifying a base year.

As part of the long-term effort, the G8 leaders also supported a goal of developed countries' reducing emission of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80 percent or more by 2050, but said the reduction should be compared to 1990 or more recent years.

The G8 summit in Italy is considered crucial for a new global pact on climate change to replace the current Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

World governments are scheduled to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of this year, hoping to wrap up the negotiations.

As the G8 leaders are vague about their targets of emission cuts, their tougher positions against emerging economies could cast doubt on what can be achieved.

On trade, the two groups are expected to agree to conclude the eight-year-long Doha Round trade talks in 2010 to reactivate international trade, which has been hit by the financial crisis.

Development in Africa and food security is also on the agenda of the meeting.

The G8+G5+1 meeting, together with a Major Economies Forum to be held later on Thursday, are outreach meetings of the G8 summit, which opened on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short his stay in Italy and returned to Beijing due to the situation in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

State Councillor Dai Bingguo is attending the meeting on behalf of Hu.

(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2009)

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