(Reuters) - Leaders from the Group of Eight top industrialized nations — the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Russia and Canada — meet from Thursday in the French seaside resort of Deauville for a two-day annual summit on global issues.
Following are key themes on the agenda.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan will outline developments since Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and triggered the world’s worst civilian nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Leaders will discuss the consequences of the disaster and how to toughen international norms for nuclear safety. The G8 discussions aim to prepare the ground for an enlarged G8 ministerial meeting on the subject in Paris on June 7-8. It will be followed later in the month by an International Atomic Energy Agency summit on strengthening international safety norms for nuclear power plants.
Discussions on global economic issues will include how to respond to future financial crises, the debt burdens weighing on some G8 nations and Europe’s debt crisis.
Talks on a successor to former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who quit last week to fight sexual assault charges, are not on the formal agenda but the matter is likely to be much discussed as soon as the summit starts.
G8 leaders will also look to come up with a common position ahead of a negotiating committee meeting for the Doha trade talks scheduled on May 31.
After setbacks at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate change conference, leaders will look at ways to revive climate talks ahead of the Durban climate change talks in December.
President Nicolas Sarkozy was keen to include Internet issues in France’s G8 agenda. Two days before the Deauville Summit some 1,000 delegates, including top executives at Facebook, Google and Amazon, met in Paris for an “e-G8” conference to discuss issues ranging from the Internet’s impact on the economy to intellectual property rights and social networking sites. Half a dozen of the delegates will attend a session with G8 leaders in Deauville to go over the main conclusions from their conference.
The evening dinner will be a working session that focuses on the Arab Spring, including the conflict in Libya and government repression of pro-democracy protests in Syria.
Once the G8 formally wraps up on Friday, G8 leaders will hold a session with the Egyptian and Tunisian prime ministers to announce a comprehensive strategy and aid plan for them, and other Arab countries pushing for democratic change. Senior officials from the European Union, Arab League, United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund will attend. Tunisia and Egypt are hoping for aid packages worth about $25 billion and $12 billion respectively.
G8 leaders will also discuss ways to break an impasse in Libya, with some expecting Russia to propose a mediation plan in the conflict. France and Britain are said to be preparing to deploy attack helicopters against Libyan government forces, as part of a U.N.-mandated military campaign to prevent attacks on civilians by the Libyan authorities.
On Syria, the United States, France and Britain, all U.N. Security Council members, will try to persuade Russia not to use its veto as they seek U.N. condemnation of use of force by Damascus against pro-democracy protesters. The European Union this week joined the United States in imposing sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Other topics to be discussed include the escalating Yemen crisis, Iran’s nuclear program and reviving the Middle East peace process.
Ahead of the final press conference, nine African leaders will join the G8 leaders to discuss democratic change in the continent and the crises in Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe. Heads of state attending are Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Niger, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Catherine Bremer and Jon Boyle