G7 leaders gather for ‘robust’ talks in Sicily

Rome: A two-day summit of leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations started off on Friday in the Italian town of Taormina.

The heads of state of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, plus the EU were expected to have a tough debate on issues, including terrorism, trade and climate change.

The topic of terrorism was pushed to the top of the agenda after a suicide bomber claimed at least 22 lives when he blew himself up at a concert by US singer Ariana Grande in the British city of Manchester on Monday.

Four of the group’s leaders, including US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, will be sitting around the table for the first time, BBC reported.

Fresh from his public dressing down of NATO leaders for not spending enough on defence, Trump was expected to be just as ready to take on his G7 counterparts, the report said.

Trump may be urged not to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change to tackle global warming and he was also likely to resist moves to limit protectionism in global trade, the report said.

Speaking ahead of the summit, White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn predicted a “robust discussion” on both issues in Sicily.

G7 host Italy was also expected to table the issues of migration and the need for massive investments in Africa as one way to reverse the exodus of people fleeing war and destitution.

In terms of long-term policies, G7 leaders will also talk about sustainable growth and development. The 43rd annual summit of G7 will end on Saturday, with leaders expected to come up with a joint statement.