32nd G8 summit

32nd G8 summit

Infobox G8
summit_name = 32nd G8 summit
year = 2006


caption = 32nd G8 Summit official logo
country = Russia
dates = July 15July 17,
The 32nd summit of the G8 group of industrialised nations took place from July 15 to July 17, 2006 outside Saint Petersburg, Russia. The venue was the Constantine Palace, which is located in Strelna on the Gulf of Finland. [cite web|url=http://en.g8russia.ru/land/russia/shortinfo/|title=A Brief Overview|publisher=G8Russia|year=2006|accessdate=2006-07-19] [cite web|url=http://en.g8russia.ru/land/strelna/history/|title=PALACE OF CONGRESSES|publisher=G8Russia|year=2006|accessdate=2006-07-19] This was the first time Russia served as host nation for a G8 summit.. The G8 is an unofficial forum which brings together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada (since 1976), Russia (since 1998),Saunders, Doug. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080704.wG8-analysis05/BNStory/International/columnists "Weight of the world too heavy for G8 shoulders,"] "Globe and Mail" (Toronto). July 5, 2008.] the President of the European Commission (since 1981). [Reuters: [http://uk.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUKB26280520080703?sp=true "Factbox: The Group of Eight: what is it?"] , July 3, 2008.]

The G8 summits during the twenty-first century have also involved widespread parallel debates and protests by citizens.

Composition of summit leaders

The core membership of the G8 has remained constant since Russia joined the talks at the 1997 summit in Denver.

Permanent

The G8 summit was the first for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi; and it was the last G8 summit for French President Jacques Chirac.

* Canada Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
* France Jacques Chirac, President
* Germany Angela Merkel, Chancellor
* Italy Romano Prodi, Prime Minister
* Japan Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister
* Russia Vladimir Putin, President
* United Kingdom Tony Blair, Prime Minister
* United States George W. Bush, President

Invited (partial participation)

Other non-G8 leaders were invited to attend and participate in the summit talks.

National leaders

* Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President
* India Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
* Mexico Vicente Fox, President
* People's Republic of China Hu Jintao, President
* South Africa Thabo Mbeki, President

Heads of international organizations

Leaders of the major international organizations were invited to attend the summit.
*
* European Union José Manuel Barroso, Commission, and Matti Vanhanen, Council [ [http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2006stpetersburg/delegations.html Delegation information] ]
*flagicon|CIS Commonwealth of Independent States Nursultan Nazarbayev, Executive Secretary
* , Director General
* International Energy Agency Claude Mandil, Executive Director
* United Nations Kofi Annan, Secretary-General
* , Director General
* , President
* , Director-General
* , Director-General

Priorities

Traditionally, the host country of the G8 summit sets the agenda for negotiations, which take place primarily amongst multi-national civil servants in the weeks before the summit itself, leading to a joint declaration which all countries can agree to sign. Energy security, education, and the fight against infectious diseases were the main issues, with the conflict between Israel and Lebanon also attracting the attention of world leaders. cite web|url=http://en.g8russia.ru/agenda/|title=Address by Russian President Vladimir Putin to visitors to the official site of Russia’s G8 Presidency in 2006|publisher=G8Russia|year=2006|accessdate=2006-07-19]

The G8 is primarily an economic forum between the global economic powerhouses; and the focus of this G8 Summit was discussion of economic issues. Some of the pressing items on the agenda:
* Open trade between Russia and the United States, including discussion of Russian entry into the World Trade Organization
* Multi-billion dollar aircraft manufacturing contracts, in light of strategy shifts at Airbus and Boeing and worsening airline business performance
* Free energy markets, especially regarding Russia and former Soviet republics, as well as petroleum from the Middle East
** Nigeria, Venezuela, and the Persian Gulf regions have all had reduced energy exports in the past weeks due to various political and technical issues
** Rights for exploration and exploitation of natural gas in Russia and the North Atlantic Ocean / Baltic Sea
** Alternative energy forms, especially relaxing nuclear power regulations; and development of hydrogen as an economically viable energy platform
** Security — both militarily and financially ensuring the future in energy supplies
* Discussion of economic impacts of global instability, drugs, and terrorism
* Education priorities for developed nations, especially encouraging businesses to support education
*Global system to monitor and contain infectious diseases

Israel-Lebanon crisis

The agenda set up by Russian President Vladimir Putin was largely overshadowed by the continuing violence in Israel and Lebanon. On 16 July, the leaders of the G8 nations agreed on a statement [cite web|url=http://en.g8russia.ru/docs/21.html|title=Middle East |publisher=G8Russia|date=2006-07-16|accessdate=2006-07-13] calling for an end to the fighting and the release of the Israeli soldiers.cite news|title=Merkel: G-8 agrees on Mideast statement|date=2006-07-16|publisher=Yahoo!|work=Associated Press|url= http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060716/ap_on_re_as/g8_summit|accessdate=2006-07-19] The leaders did not, however, go as far as calling for a ceasefire.

Citizens' responses and authorities' counter-responses

During the week leading up to the summit (7–11 July), police in Moscow, St Petersburg and elsewhere around Russia detained somewhere between a few dozen to possibly two hundred human rights and political activists. Many of them were sentenced to ten days' imprisonment, preventing them from participating in protests surrounding the official summit. The Russian Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin said that the allegations of harassment were "from the realms of supposition" and that the police's actions were "commensurate with the situation at hand".cite news |title=Dozens preemptively arrested in leadup to St Petersburg G8 Summit | date=2006-07-12 | publisher=Wikinews
url= http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Dozens_preemptively_arrested_in_leadup_to_St_Petersburg_G8_Summit
accessdate=2006-07-19
]

Cherie Blair, wife of the British Prime Minister and a human rights lawyer, slipped out of the summit in order to meet with local human rights groups and offer them free legal advice. Her leaving the summit was officially endorsed by Downing Street, and has reportedly furthered a rift between Britain and Russia. [cite news|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/18/wgeight18.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/07/18/ixnews.html|title=Cherie Blair infuriates Russia with offer of help to activists|author=Blomfield, Adrian and Wilson, Graeme|date=2006-07-18|accessdate=2006-07-19|publisher=The Daily Telegraph]

Accomplishments

The G8 summit is an international event which is observed and reported by news media, but the G8's continuing relevance after more than 30 years is somewhat unclear. [Lee, Don. [http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-fg-summit6-2008jul06,0,2282497.story "On eve of summit, G-8's relevance is unclear,"] "Los Angeles Times." July 6, 2008.] More than one analyst suggests that a G-8 summit is not the place to flesh out the details of any difficult or controversial policy issue in the context of a three-day event. Rather, the meeting offers an opportunity to bring a range of complex and sometimes inter-related issues. The G8 summit brings leaders together "not so they can dream up quick fixes, but to talk and think about them together."Feldman, Adam. [http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2008/07/05/problems-unity-progress-oped-cx_af_summit08_0707feldman.html "What's Wrong With The G-8,"] "Forbes" (New York). July 7, 2008.]

Recorded conversations

During the summit, a conversation between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair was inadvertently recorded by a U.S. TV crew preparing for a live broadcast. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5188258.stm|title=Transcript: Bush and Blair's unguarded chat|publisher=BBC News Online|date=2006-07-18|accessdate=2006-07-19]

The UK's "Independent" newspaper put a transcript of the conversation on its front page on 18 July, alongside some notes explaining the context of some of the comments. The paper singled out Bush's apparent snub of an offer by Blair to mediate in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, in favour of sending Condoleezza Rice. [cite news|url=http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article1183388.ece|title='Yo, Blair!': Overheard at the G8|date=2006-07-18|accessdate=2006-07-19|publisher=The Independent] While Britons were upset with the perception that Blair was subordinate to Bush, in the US the fact that Bush used an expletive (claiming the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict would not have escalated if Syria would have pressured the Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit") was of greater concern. [cite news |title= Bush frustration sparks expletive | date=2006-07-17 | publisher=CNN
url= http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/07/17/russia.g8.bushremark.ap/index.html
accessdate=2006-07-20
]

References

See also

* G6 and G7

External links

* G8 Research Group: [http://www.g8.utoronto.ca G8 Information Centre] ,University of Toronto
* Official G8 website: [http://en.g8russia.ru/ St. Petersburg G8]

Press and media
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5182442.stm BBC News: Russian WTO bid falters at summit]
* [http://www.iii.co.uk/news/?type=afxnews&articleid=5714467&subject=economic&action=article Business Finance News: G8 SUMMIT At-a-glance guide to the main points]
* [http://www.janes.com/security/law_enforcement/news/pr/pr060713_1_n.shtml Russian roulette] Article previewing likely policing methods at the summit, 13 July 2006
* [http://presse.gipfelsoli.org/blogs/index.php?blog=6 G8 2006 Info- and Pressgroup]
* G8 research group [http://g8live.ca "G8 Live" Live news and blogs from St. Petersburg summit by University of Toronto student members of the G8 Research Group]
* Medish, Mark. [http://www.theglobalist.com/storyid.aspx?StoryId=5151 "Russia — Odd Man Out in the G-8"] , "The Globalist", 24 February 2006
* Oxford Energy Comment. [http://www.oxfordenergy.org/pdfs/comment_0806-1.pdf "The G8 and Russia: Security of Supply vs. Security of Demand?"] , Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, August 2006

Activism
* [http://int.ru.indymedia.org/ Russia Indymedia Coverage] English language reporting from the protests against the summit
* [http://rtc.revolt.org/node/337 Call to Action against G8 + 5 Energy Minister's Meeting on Climate Change, Oct 3-4, 2006 in Mexico City]
* [http://g8.bravehost.com/ "G8 St.Petersburg, Russia"]
* [http://g8-2006.plentyfact.net/index.php/Main_Page "G8 Summit 2006, St.Petersburg, Russia"] (plentyfact wiki)
* [http://g8-2006.plentyfact.net Activist mobilisation against the summit]
* [http://lists.aktivix.org/pipermail/lunevalley-g8-inform/2005-July/000195.html Activists' preparations]
* [http://rtc.revolt.org/node/316 2006 G8 Summit - Chronicle of Global Resistance]
* [http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/g82006/ 2006 G8 Summit - Protest Reports & Photos]
* [http://www.spb8.net/en Network Against G8 Saint-Petersburg]


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