Analysis: The fallout from Genoa
CNN's Kelly Wallace is in Genoa covering the G8 summit of leading industrial nations. She spoke to CNN International anchor Shihab Rattansi after leaders issued their final statement on Sunday.
Q. What are G8 leaders saying about the meeting?
A. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said it was unfortunate that the message coming out of the summit was more about the violent protest on the street and less about the things that these leaders accomplished -- such reaching out developing nations, the creation of the $1bn global AIDS fund, and increasing debt relief.
He did though note that the G8 leaders took note of what was happening on the streets and decided they want to hold these meetings, but they have decided to scale things down a bit. At next year's summit in Canada each country will be bringing a much smaller delegation -- maybe in the range of 30 to 35 people.
Also, Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, has announced that next year's meeting will be held in a resort mountain location near Alberta, Canada. Again, this will provide an opportunity for the leaders to meet and have informal conversations -- which leaders say is very important -- but they also saw what happened here on the streets of Genoa, and they are hoping it doesn't happen again next year.
Q. What was decided on the issue of global warming?
A. We were all waiting to see the communiqué to see how the leaders would handle their differences. Obviously there is big disagreement - U.S. President George W. Bush is against the international treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming, thinking it would hurt the U.S. economy and saying it does not include the developing world. Many European countries, however, are very strong supporters of this treaty.
In the final communiqué they have agreed to disagree. But they are saying they are all agreed on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. European leaders as well as countries such as Japan plan to go forward with this treaty, while the U.S. leader says that he is working on alternatives to that Kyoto protocol and that his team will be presenting them likely by this fall.
Q. The leaders have announced they are going to scale down meetings - is this going to satisfy the protesters?
A. Firstly there has been movement on the part of some leaders, including U.S. President Bush, who has wanted a more informal setting for these meetings, because a big focus for the leaders is for them to get to know one another, to sit around so they can pick up the phone whenever a big issue comes up. Obviously the protesters might view this as the leaders running away, but you also heard the prime ministers saying they would continue to reach out to civil society, that they did have leaders here from the developing world, from countries in Africa including Nigeria and South Africa, and that that will continue.
I think you will be seeing these leaders at next year's summit and thereafter doing more to reach out to the developing world to respond to the protesters here. There was some frustration on the part of the leaders, they felt that some of the issues they were focussing on are issues that the protesters really cared about, but they feel that these protesters were not giving them the credit they deserve for taking up these issues.
Q. Has there been any movement on the issues of free trade?
While leaders are pledging to individually pursue another round of world trade talks, they are not very specific about those negotiations. European countries are very concerned about protecting their own agricultural interests, the U.S. leader very much protecting steel and other manufacturing industries in the United States. There are lots of areas that need to be mapped out in order to launch another round of talks.
There are also labour and environmental concerns - developing countries are very much concerned if they have to uphold labour and environmental standards that their own economies will be very much hurt.
Q. What about the divisive issue of missile defence?
Well, this does not appear to be included in the communiqué. It is obviously going to be a big focus of President Bush's discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president did, however, get a bit of a boost when he met earlier in the week with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying that the prime minister is one of those leaders who is open to at least thinking about this - discussing the need for new ways to deal with new threats - but it does not appear it was an issue that really dominated discussions here in Genoa.
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