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Bush invites six African leaders to G8 summit

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SAVANNAH, US, June 07, 2004 (PANA) — Host President George W. Bush has invited
six African leaders to attend the 2004 Group of Eight (G8) Summit
slated for Sea Islands, Georgia, state department sources said
here Monday.

Those invited are Presidents John Kufuor of Ghana, Abdoulaye Wade
of Senegal, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of
Algeria, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Yoweri Museveni of
Uganda.

The African heads of state will attend the summit on 10 June, the
last day of deliberation, and later hold bilateral talks with G8
leaders from Canada, Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Japan,
Russia and US.

The G8 is a block of the world’s most industrialised nations
which meets annually to discuss international financial and
economic trends, global peace and security and developments in
Third World countries for possible action by member states.

The European Union usually attends these summits.

But reliable sources here said this year’s G8 summit has somewhat
sidelined Africa, with the agenda dominated by the transition in
Iraq, political reforms in the Greater Middle East and rising
price of oil and its implication for industrialised economies.

Africa, the sources said, is being considered at the level of its
role in combating global terrorism and the possibility of the
industrialised nations looking forward to the continent’s oil
wells as an alternative to the oil-producing Middle East should
relations turn sour.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic, democratic reforms and economic growth
are expected to feature in talks between the G8 leaders and their
African counterparts at the Sea Islands summit, outside here.

But the crucial issues of Africa’s debt burden and greater access
to markets in the industrialised nations may not feature in the
talks, the sources told PANA.

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