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Vol 47 No 15

Published 21st July 2006

Pause in St Petersburg

After last year's big push, the G8 risks treading water on Africa policy until the 2007 summit in Germany

African expectations of the Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg on 15-17 July were scaled down well in advance and were not unduly disappointed. Neither the host, President Vladimir Putin, nor his core agenda of extracting maximum diplomatic leverage from Russia's vast energy reserves, had much interest for Africa. By the time of the conference's rain-soaked finale on 17 July, the widening Middle East crisis had squeezed out those items on Putin's agenda -education and infectious disease - that were of key interest for Africa. However, at Britain's and France's insistence and on the final day of the summit, the G8 leaders sat down with the 'strategic outreach partners', including South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and African Union Chairman Dénis Sassou N'Guesso, as well as the leaders of Brazil, India, China and Mexico.

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