The number of world leaders continues to multiply in L’Aquila, with mixed results.
The G8 met the G5 developing countries and four other delegations on Thursday and today eight African countries join the party. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi stole the show at Thursday evening’s dinner with what is being described already as an historic handshake with President Obama. In such a cooperative atmosphere, leaders agreed to work for a global trade deal by next year. On climate change, the G8 agreed that global temperatures should not rise by more than two degrees, but could not agree on the means to stop them doing so. Obama, who chaired the climate change talks, said progress would not be easy: “It is even more difficult in the context of a global recession, which I think adds to the fears that somehow addressing this issue will contradict the possibilities of robust global economic growth. But ultimately we have a choice: we can either shape our future or we can let events shape it for us,” Obama told a press conference. It is not just presidents and prime ministers hogging the limelight in L’Aquila. Hollywood actor George Clooney toured the earthquake-hit town, a day after his elected counterparts. Clooney said the G8’s presence in the town would keep attention focussed on the reconstruction effort.