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WORLD | 12-06-2024 10:29

Milei, Lula, Pope, Modi to join G7 leaders at summit in Italy

Pope Francis, President Javier Milei and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are some of the special guests attending the G7 summit in Italy on June 13-15.

President Javier Milei, his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Pope Francis and Indian premier Narendra Modi will join G7 leaders this week during a summit focussed notably on Ukraine and the Middle East, according to a programme released Tuesday.

Against a backdrop of rising global tensions, the June 13-15 summit will see leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations, including US President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron and Japanese premier Fumio Kishida, gather at the luxury southern Italian resort of Borgo Egnazia.

Other guests have been invited by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to round out the event, but they will not participate in official G7 discussions.

They include Pope Francis – who will attend a session on artificial intelligence – and Modi, fresh from an election setback that has forced him into a coalition government.

They also include several African leaders: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Tunisia's Kais Saied, Kenyan President William Ruto and Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the president of Mauritania.

Africa, climate change and development are the topics of the opening session on Thursday.

They will be followed by a session devoted to the Middle East and then talks on Ukraine – considered the top focus of the summit and attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – before an official dinner.

The guest list published Tuesday also includes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and President Lula from Brazil – which holds the rotating presidency of the G20.

Although local press have speculated about a possible first meeting between Milei and Lula, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said this week that "there was no request" from Argentina for a bilateral meeting.

Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also plans to attend, as does Jordanian King Abdullah II, according to the list.

Italian diplomatic sources had suggested Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would attend, but his name did not appear on Tuesday's list.

From the G7 nations Britain, Germany and Canada come Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, respectively.

Friday's programme will feature talks on migration, the Indo-Pacific and economic security, followed by the discussion on artificial intelligence attended by Pope Francis.

The summit is expected to wrap up by 7pm local time (1700 GMT, 1300 BA) Friday, with a final press conference from Meloni on Saturday afternoon.

 

‘Unacceptable’: Arab League slams Milei's ‘no-show’

The General Secretariat of the League of Arab States expressed its “great dissatisfaction” and “astonishment” at President Javier Milei's attitude, after the Argentine leader cancelled his attendance at a meeting scheduled with a council of Arab ambassadors and Islamic groups at a mosque in Buenos Aires. 

According to reports, Milei pulled his presence at the Arab League-led meeting after learning that the chargé d'affaires of the Palestinian Embassy would attend. 

Since taking office, Argentina’s libertarian leader has reorientated his nation’s geopolitical direction, firmly aligning it with the United States and Israel. 

The Arab League, which groups together 22 nations, called in a statement for Argentina to “review its recent positions on the Palestinian cause.”

“The General Secretariat affirms that such behaviour reflects an unjustified and hostile position, not only towards the State of Palestine but also towards the entire Arab group,” read the communiqué, which decried the reversal in positions on Palestine under President Milei. 
 


– TIMES/AFP/NA

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