Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Sunday, 6 July 2008 14:45 UK

G8 urged to act over oil prices

US president George Bush and Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda
President Bush has blamed surging oil prices for slow US growth

Japan and the US have pledged to call for "swift action" on surging oil and food prices at next week's G8 summit.

Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said action was needed as the problems were "having a negative impact on the world economy".

Leaders of the two countries made the vow during talks ahead of the Group of Eight meeting in Hokkaido, Japan.

Record oil prices and rising food prices have been prompting concerns about global inflation.

Surging fuel prices have also prompted protests across the world, with the latest demonstrations breaking out in Malaysia.

Economic worries

US president George Bush also blamed oil prices for the US economy "not growing as robustly as we would like".

"We have got a problem when it comes to reliance upon foreign sources of oil. For seven years I've been trying to get the Congress to explore for oil domestically," he said.

Meanwhile, President Bush is also expected to push leaders at the three-day summit to tackle the global food crisis by boosting shipments of food, fertilisers and seeds to afflicted countries and to reduce barriers to bio-engineered crops.

However, Japanese press reports have suggested the solution the G8 may put forward could be to create world stockpiles of food.

Other issues set to dominate the summit's agenda will be climate change, and other problems ranging from North Korea's nuclear programmes to aid for Africa.

"I'm concerned about people going hungry," said President Bush.

"There's too much suffering in the continent of Africa. Now is the time for the comfortable nations to step up and do something about it."

The G8 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Fifteen other nations, including Brazil and China, will be attending the talks.

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