Global General

Harper: G8 expects G20 to deal with major economic issues

Updated: 2010-06-27 02:17
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TORONTO - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Saturday that it will be up to the G20 leaders to come up with a plan to cut national budget deficits, which some economists see as a major threat to world economic stability.

Speaking at a press conference after the two-day G8 summit in the resort town of Huntsville, about 250 kilometers north of Toronto, Harper said the summit "refocused and re-energized"the G8 on peace and security issues.

He said major economic issues, including the stalled Doha round of trade liberalization negotiations and government deficit cuts, will be discussed at the G20.

He said the G8 leaders do "recognize that the world economy is fragile, and that there are many risks going forward."

Harper said the world cannot afford more short-term cataclysmic events like the collapse of American investment bank Lehman Brothers in September, 2008, "that send the world economies spiraling downward."

Harper hinted that the G8 leaders have come around to the position taken by Canada and China that growth sovereign debt levels must be reduced.

"I have never been at a summit where leaders seem to more deeply feel the need for common action and common purpose,"he said.

Among the security issues discussed by the G8 leaders were, North Koreas nuclear program and its alleged sinking of a South Korean naval ship on March 29, Iran's nuclear programs, and the Israeli-Palestinian stand-off in Gaza, which the leaders called " unsustainable."

The G8 also worked on a five-year plan to pull out of Afghanistan that would not leave the country a haven for terrorists or a failed state.

As well, the summit leaders pledged 5 billion U.S. dollars over the next five years to improve maternal health in the developing world.

Harper tried to quell rumors that this may be the last G8 summit with influence over the world economy.

"I would seriously doubt that. Maybe last year at this time there was a lot of talk around the table," Harper said.

He said the G8 has, on issues other than the economy, "far more commonality of purpose" than the G20.