Obama in Italy as Global Economy Takes Center Stage at G8 Summit

L’Aquila, Italy (RPRN) 7/08/2009–U.S. President Barack Obama is in Italy Wednesday for talks with the world’s most powerful leaders during the Group of Eight economic summit. The G8 leaders are meeting in the central city of L’Aquila, where a strong earthquake in April killed nearly 300 people. The state of the global economy is expected to be the focus of a working lunch at the start of the three-day summit.

The group will consider whether more steps are needed to fix the economy and at what point stimulus spending should end.

Economic advisor Michael Froman to Mr. Obama told reporters in L’Aquila Wednesday the G8 leaders will likely strike a balance between making sure the economy continues to grow and bringing spending back to sustainable levels.

G8 are also expected to discuss trade, climate change, food security, and aid to developing countries.  Other issues on the agenda include the political crises in Iran and Honduras, and ethnic violence in China’s Xinjiang region.

Mr. Obama met with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in Rome before traveling to L’Aquila.

A series of aftershocks has plagued the area around L’Aquila  and Italian officials say they are prepared to airlift G8 leaders out should another major quake hit.

President Obama traveled to Italy from Russia, where he met in Moscow with President Dmitri Medvedev.

The two men signed a framework agreement on a new treaty that would sharply cut the number of each countries’ nuclear weapons.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Photo credit: The interior of the Main Conference hall, where the Summit meetings are to be carried out in the premises of the Coppito Guardia di Finanza campus. Photo taken on 7 July 2009, the eve of the G8 Summit. G8 website/ansa/photo by Ettore Ferrari