Regional conflicts, African problems to be in focus at G8 Canada summit

Regional conflicts and problems of the African continent will be discussed by the G8 leaders at the forthcoming summit meeting in Kananaskis, due on June 26-27, said official spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko.

The Russian diplomat said that the leaders of the leading countries plan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East, as well as relations between India and Pakistan. These questions will be considered "in a linkage with the antiterrorist theme," said Yakovenko. Moscow believes that the G8 countries have a large potential for promoting the solution of regional issues. "Russia is for its efficient use and plays in these questions an active role in the G8 and the international arena in general," Yakovenko said.

The Kananaskis summit will also consider problems of Africa's sustained development. The official spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that the plan of G8 action on Africa will be submitted for approval by the G8 leaders.

This document is a detailed concrete response of the G8 to the African initiative New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD). Yakovenko explained that within this plan Africa will focus on the priority directions of development. This concerns the introduction of "proper management", strengthening of peace and security, promotion of the development of health protection and education, economic growth and the attraction of investments.

This document was prepared in close contact with the leading countries of NEPAD and Russia took an active part in the preparations. Yakovenko said that "a special emphasis" in this document was laid "on the regulation of conflicts and the maintenance of peace on the continent, strengthening of democratic institutions, increasing the efficiency of work of the governments in the struggle against poverty, development of the education and health protection systems." Alexander Yakovenko recalled that Russia makes a weighty contribution to the development of Africa. Our country is one of the main donors of the programme for cutting the indebtedness of the poorest countries, mostly African. Moscow grants the least developed countries broad preferences in trade, does not practise import limitations, antidumping or compensatory measures with regard to their products.

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