The Group of Eight summit has opened in Deauville, France, with a backdrop of continuing financial crisis in indebted nations, and in the euro zone in particular, which the G8 says is holding back world growth.
President Obama was much in demand and he delighted the onlooking crowd by pressing the flesh before going in for the talks, where Greece in particular was urged to get a grip on its finances.
Summing-up discussions so far, ahead of the working dinner, host Nicolas Sarkozy defended military intervention in Libya, insisting a lesson had been learnt from the recent past.
“If we had not intervened Benghazi would have been razed to the ground by the murderous madness of a man who had promised unprecedented repression. As Europeans we had not forgotten Srebrenica where 8,000 people died despite assurances from the international community that they would be protected,” he said.
Nuclear security was another topic raised, with the conclusion of a financial package to build a new shield around Chernobyl, and promises from all the G8 members to help Japan rebuild after Fukushima. Members also expressed support for the Doha round of WTO talks, and imminent Russian membership of the WTO.