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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dvorkovich Downplays Dollar Focus for G8

APProtesters in Medvedev and Obama masks simulating a robbery in Rome.

Russia’s agenda at the Group of Eight summit will include international disaster relief, North Korea and the Middle East, but President Dmitry Medvedev will make little mention of new reserve currencies, his economic aide Arkady Dvorkovich said Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference dedicated to the three-day G8 summit starting Wednesday in L’Aquila, Italy, Dvorkovich said Russia would not discuss the creation of new reserve currencies as an alternative to the dollar — an issue that has long been a Kremlin pet topic and that has recently won a measure of support from India and China.

The currency debate “will not be discussed at the G8,” Dvorkovich said.

China and Russia, however, “will state that the creation of any reserve currencies is a gradual process that needs evolutionary development,” Dvorkovich said. “This is connected with the creation of several regional reserve currencies, which may then become international.”

China, the world’s largest holder of U.S. government debt, is slated to discuss proposals for a currency to replace the dollar on Thursday, during a meeting of the G14, a group that combines the G8 with developing countries such as Brazil and India.

The issue has lately gained some traction beyond Russia and China. India said Monday that the world financial system was too dependent on the dollar, while France hinted Sunday that the currency’s future could be discussed in the near term.

The debate, however, has so far largely been theoretical, with most G8 members going out of their way to note that the dollar’s future as a reserve currency was assured for years to come.

Dvorkovich described the summit agenda as packed, even in the absence of a discussion on global currencies.

One of Russia’s proposals will be a treaty on cooperation in international disaster relief, Dvorkovich said.

“Russia has significant experience in this, and we want to share it,” he said.

Dvorkovich said Russia was helping Italy tackle the aftermath of an earthquake that took place in April in L’Aquila, where the summit will be held. The quake killed around 300 people and left some 65,000 homeless.

Medvedev will “place special emphasis” on discussing the Middle East and North Korea, Dvorkovich said.

Medvedev will meet with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in addition to other leaders, Kremlin spokesman Alexei Pavlov said Tuesday.

A meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Taro in particular may be thorny.

On Friday, Japan’s parliament unanimously passed a law asserting sovereignty over the Kuril Islands, which both Japan and Russia claim as their territory.  The Federation Council on Monday called the move “an insult.”

Food security was also on the president’s agenda, Dvorkovich said.

“President Medvedev will share the conclusions he made when he traveled around Africa with his colleagues,” Dvorkovich said.

When asked about a different food issue — meat imports to Russia from the U.S. — Dvorkovich said the problems had not been resolved during President Barack Obama’s visit.

“There is a strong meat lobby in the U.S., and it restrains our cooperation in many other spheres,” Dvorkovich said.

G8 Schedule

WEDNESDAY

The first day will involve G8 leaders plus European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and current EU president Sweden.

1 p.m. G8 convenes with working lunch on world economy. To discuss signs of end of recession, financial regulation, Doha trade round.

3 p.m. Family photo of G8 leaders.

3:30 p.m. G8 holds working session on global issues. Will discuss climate change, aid and development.

5:30 p.m. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and U.S. President Barack Obama are due to tour the earthquake stricken town of L’Aquila.

7:00 p.m. Berlusconi holds news conference. Bilateral meetings.

8:30 p.m. G8 has working dinner on international issues, expected to focus on the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, piracy off Somalia, terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

THURSDAY

Bilateral meetings

10 a.m. G8 leaders to meet with heads of the G5 — Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa — and Egypt. Talks will focus on global issues and development policies.

12 p.m. Family photograph of G8, G5 and Egypt.

12:30 p.m. Working lunch of the G14 plus heads of international organizations including United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the International Energy Association. To discuss future sources of growth.

At the request of China, the G14 may discuss proposals for a new global reserve currency.

2:30 p.m. G14 leaders will meet with young representatives from their countries for a session of question and answers.

3:00 p.m. Working session of the 17-member Major Economies Forum and the head of the WTO to discuss progress toward the Doha round trade deal.

4:15 p.m. Working session of the MEF with UN and Denmark to discuss global warming. Press conference afterward.

8:30 p.m. Dinner at the invitation of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

FRIDAY, JULY 10

8:30 a.m. Working breakfast with G8 and leaders from Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and the African Union Commission to discuss the impact of the global economic crisis on Africa. To include the heads of international organizations.

10:30 a.m. Working session on food security grouping the G8 and G5, African nations, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and international organizations. There will be a statement on food security and the start of a new initiative to fund farming and tackle global hunger.

12:30 p.m. Heads of state will meet 100 relatives of victims of April’s earthquake in L’Aquila and will unveil a memorial plaque.

1 p.m. The Italian G8 presidency will give a final news conference. Other national leaders may also hold individual news briefings.

2 p.m. President Obama is due to hold a news conference in L’Aquila.

3:30 p.m. Obama is due to have an audience with Pope Benedict.

— Reuters