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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia to Bar China From G8

LONDON — Russia will probably not invite emerging economic powerhouses such as China and India to next year's meetings of the Group of Eight nations, a senior aide to President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Russia in 2006 will assume the rotating presidency of the elite forum, which has eight members, though some developing nations have been present as observers at recent G8 summits.

Russia will host its first full G8 summit in July in St. Petersburg, with finance ministers' meetings scheduled for February and then in late May or early June.

Igor Shuvalov, the key official responsible for organizing next year's summit, said Russia believed a more useful purpose would be served by inviting the heads of multilateral organizations such as United Nations agencies or the World Bank, simply because of the prospective issues on the agenda.

"We believe, and this is not certain yet and not decided, we should not invite other countries as was done by Great Britain and by the French in the past," Shuvalov said in a speech at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London.

 G8 finance ministers will meet in Moscow in February without being joined by central bankers, Russia said on Tuesday, backtracking on an earlier announcement.

The change in plans for Russia's first annual presidency of the G8 in 2006 is likely to downgrade the importance of the bloc's financial consultations, at which it has in the past acted only as an observer. "There will be heads of finance ministries, but not central bankers," said Sergei Storchak, deputy finance minister responsible for international relations.