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G8 leaders' spouses to hold parallel summit in Germany

As G8 leaders meet for a 3 day summit dominated by differences over defence and climate policy, their spouses will meet at a parallel forum with a less divisive agenda.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2007 12:26 IST

As the leaders of the world's eight leading industrialized nations meet in northern Germany for a three-day summit expected to be dominated by differences over defence and climate policy, their spouses will come together for a parallel forum, with a less divisive agenda to pursue.

The key event on the alternate gathering's programme will be a discussion of demographic development issues at the Burg Schlitz castle, near the German seaside resort of Heiligendamm, the venue of the main Group of Eight (G8) summit.

The husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel will welcome his counterparts from Britain, France, Italy, the US, Canada, Japan and Russia to the elegant early 19th-century property on Thursday for the discussion, and a subsequent luncheon.

On Friday, the G8 leaders' spouses will head for the Baltic port of Wismar for a meeting with participants in the Junior 8 summit, an international youth conference with an agenda that mirrors that of the G8 summit.

Analysts fear that US-Russia tensions over Washington's plans to build a missile shield in central Europe may overshadow this year's G8 forum, while its host - Chancellor Merkel, has been hoping to centre on climate change policies and aid for Africa.

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