G7 Summit: Key Issues, Agenda and Participants.  Everything you need to know

BARI, Italy (AP) — The seven-member summit begins Thursday. $50 billion loan to Ukraine Using frozen Russian assets as collateral gave Kiev strong support even as Europe’s political chessboard shifted to the right.

Diplomats confirmed the agreement had been reached before the leaders landed in southern Italy for a three-day summit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to sign a separate bilateral security agreement with US President Joe Biden.

Beyond the Ukraine War, Pope Francis He will be the first pope to address the G7 summit, adding celebrity and moral authority to this year’s annual gathering in Italy’s sun-drenched region of Puglia. He will speak on Friday The Promises and Perils of Artificial IntelligenceBut he is also expected to renew his appeal for a peaceful end Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine And this Israel-Hamas war In Gaza.

The G7 system includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. Italy, which is hosting the summit, has invited several African leaders — the Algerian president Abdelmadjid TebbouneKenyan President William Ruto and Tunisian President Kais Said – to press for Italy’s development and migration efforts on the continent.

Other guests included the President of Brazil Luis Inacio Lula da SilvaIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fresh from his own election, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

With Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and now French President Emmanuel Macron facing elections in the coming months, the pressure was on the G7 to do what it could while the status quo lasted.

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Russian assets frozen in favor of Ukraine

The American proposal involved engineering $50 billion loan to help Ukraine In its fight against Russia, Russia’s frozen central bank will use interest from assets, most of which are pledged as collateral in the European Union.

A French official, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said the leaders’ political decision had been reached Technical and legal details A mechanism for tapping assets had yet to be developed. The issue is complicated because if Russian assets are not frozen one day – if the war ends – then the profits can no longer be used to pay the debt, requiring a burden-sharing arrangement with other countries.

In addition to the deal, Sunak announced up to 242 million pounds (286 million euros or $310 million) in non-military aid to Ukraine for humanitarian, energy and stabilization needs. Washington sent strong signals of support Expanded economic sanctions against Russia To target Chinese companies that help its war machine.

Europe’s New Political Chess

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni heads to a strengthened party at home and abroad after becoming Italy’s first female prime minister after her far-right party won a stronger European Parliament election than a national general election in 2022. Italy, known for its revolving-door governments, now occupies the unusual position of being the most stable power in the EU.

The leaders of Germany and France, the other two EU members of the G7, did not fare nearly as well after hard-right parties made strong showings in the polls. Macron It is called a snap election and the German chancellor Olaf Scholes His Social Democrats found themselves behind the mainstream conservatives and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

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As a result, analysts said Maloney will be able to steer the three-day meeting to his top priority items as he further asserts his role on the world stage. A sign of his flexed far-right muscles: Maloney’s office denied media reports that it was trying to water down language about access to abortion in the final report.

A French official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with Macron’s office routine, said there were differences of opinion with Italian negotiators on some topics, including sexual and reproductive health and vaccines.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani confirmed that abortion was being discussed, but said discussions were continuing.

“While the recent results are unlikely to radically change the focus of the upcoming G7 summit, this election victory gives Premier Maloney additional leverage to shape what is essentially a ‘Mediterranean summit,'” said Nick O’Connell, deputy director of the Atlantic Council.

This includes pushing his migration agenda as Meloni seeks to use his plan for a non-exploitative relationship with Africa to boost growth while curbing illegal migration to Europe.

The Pope and Artificial Intelligence

Pope Francis has called International agreement To ensure that AI is developed and used ethically, acknowledging the promise it holds, but emphasizing the serious and existential threats it poses.

He would bring that propaganda to the industrialized nations of the world as wars raged on many fronts. One of his biggest concerns is the use of AI Ordnance Department, A frequent focus of the Jesuit Pope, who called even traditional arms makers “merchants of death”.

But Francis also worries about what AI means to the poor and vulnerable: technology that can determine the credibility of an applicant for a mortgage, an immigrant’s right to political asylum, or the chance of a retrial for someone previously convicted of a crime.

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Where is it happening?

The G7 summit takes place in a sprawling luxury resort that’s something of a theater set, a fake town made to look like one of Puglia’s medieval whitewashed hamlets, but that’s actually from 2010.

Located next to the actual archaeological park, Borgo Egnazia has narrow streets, villas, restaurants and a town square with a clock tower. A celebrity favorite, it will be sealed off to outsiders for the duration of the summit.

No such five-star hotels were waiting as over 2,000 police and carabinieri forces were called in to provide security. Authorities seized the defunct cruise ship docked in Brindisi’s harbor on Wednesday after a police union complained about unacceptable sanitary conditions on board.

As with any G7, anti-globalization, anti-war and climate activists stage protests around the summit venue, but far from where the leaders meet. A group is holding a “feast for the poor” on Friday night “against the Big 7 who claim to determine peace, people’s rights and the fate of the world and our planet”.

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Angela Charlton and Sylvie Corbett contributed to this report from Paris.

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