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G7 leaders gather in Italy with Gaza, Ukraine high on agenda

Italian Carabinieri, paramilitary policemen, patrol at a road block near Borgo Egnatia, venue of the G7 summit in southern Italy, Wednesday, June 12, 2024   -  
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Gregorio Borgia/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

G7

Security was high in southern Italy Wednesday morning ahead of the landing of U.S. President Joe Biden for the annual G7 leaders’ summit.

The three-day summit kicks off on Thursday in Puglia, Italy, where leaders of the seven wealthy democratic nations are expected to discuss the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars, the energy transition, artificial intelligence, migration and collaboration with Africa.

Biden and his counterparts from Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan meet annually to collaborate on shared goals.

Pope Francis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are joining the gathering at the Borgo Egnazia resort in the Puglia region of southern Italy.

Roadblocks surrounded the luxury resort Wednesday morning, while police helicopters were flying above the venue.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hosts this week’s summit as the most stable of the alliance's European Union leaders, after her German and French counterparts were shaken by European parliamentary elections.

Arguably the most anticipated outcome of the summit may be a decision on using frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine.

Last month, G7 finance ministers said they had moved toward agreement on a U.S. proposal to squeeze more money for Ukraine out of Russian assets frozen in their countries.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is pushing for an approach that would borrow against the future interest income from the frozen assets. It could give Ukraine as much as $50 billion immediately.

But the ministers left a final deal to be worked out ahead of the June summit of national leaders.