[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
G8 leaders gather for US summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives
Russia's President Putin comes in a strong economic position
Leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised nations are gathering in the US for their annual summit.

The talks - on Sea Island, off Georgia - are set to be dominated by Iraq, democratic reforms in the Middle East and debt relief for poorer nations.

The summit is only the second time the G8 leaders have met since the divisions of the Iraq war.

Sea Island security is tight, and the first protest of the summit took place more than 100km (62miles) away.

Middle East - Israel / Palestinian conflict and looming Iraq handover are key issues. Bush unveils 'Broader Middle East Initiative'.
Oil prices - Financial markets jittery over fears of new terror attacks and possible disruptions of supply.
Debt relief - Leaders expected to vote to extend debt relief for world's poorest nations.
Global economy - Talks on the state of world economy amid growing recovery after three years of relatively weak performance.
International trade - Discussions on WTO negotiations to remove barriers to international commerce.

About 150 people turned out for a peaceful protest in Savannah, all officially sanctioned and carefully policed.

The BBC's Rob Watson, in Georgia, says this is one of those "don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed" summits.

US President George W Bush had originally wanted to focus on promoting democracy throughout the Middle East but though some Arab leaders will be attending, our correspondent says, the goals of the summit are modest.

Other G8 leaders are anxious not to be seen as dictating reforms to the Muslim world, he adds.

Also on the G8 guest list are leaders from Africa who are likely to be offered more generous debt relief.


The authorities have sealed off Sea Island amid fears that the summit could be one of several high-profile events in the country this summer targeted by Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Only those with high-level credentials are being allowed into the secluded resort.

Georgia's National Guard troops
Thousands of troops and police officers have been deployed
About five miles (8km) long and two miles (1.3km) wide, the private island can be reached only by a two-lane causeway - or from the Atlantic Ocean.

Concrete barriers, metal fencing and checkpoints have been put in place around key buildings and routes on the mainland and surrounding islands.

Thousands of police officers and National Guard troops are patrolling roads and bridge while military aircraft and gunboats have also been deployed.

Local people in the mainland city of Savannah are relieved that there are unlikely to be large scale anti-globalisation protests this week - an accepted feature of G8 previous summits.

But some have complained about heavy-handedness.

An organiser of the demonstration in Savannah on Tuesday said people had been frightened away.

"People are very intimidated by the military presence in the city," said Kelly Geising.

The G8 countries are the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia.

1 Access to Sea Island restricted to G8 delegates and local residents
2 All traffic on Torras Causeway monitored at checkpoints
3 Boating restrictions in place in some areas around Sea Island
4 G8 delegates not staying on Sea Island are staying in Savannah. Armed coastguards, National Guard troops and helicopters on patrol

Tight security awaits G8 leaders
07 Jun 04  |  Americas
US softens Middle East reform plans
04 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Key states welcome new Iraq draft
08 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Egypt declines G8 summit invite
24 May 04  |  Middle East
Profile: G8
05 Jun 04  |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific