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Partners of G7 leaders visit several attractions in Italy

Leaders pose for a group photo during a G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024   -  
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Luca Bruno/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

G7

While G7 summit leaders discussing global conflicts and the situation in Africa their spouses visiting various cultural destinations in the vicinity of the Borgo Egnatia venue, in Fasano .

Partners of the participants were allowed to tour the local archaeological museum of Egnatia, showcasing pre-Roman Messapian findings, the Fortress of Pettolecchia and several millenary olive trees.

Italy is hosting the summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations through Saturday.

Leaders will discuss Italy’s longstanding concern about uncontrolled migration and human traffickers.

Perennial issues such as climate change and China also will be discussed.

The member countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Italy “wanted to dedicate ample space to another continent that is fundamental to the future of all of us, which is Africa, with its difficulties, its opportunities,” Meloni said at the summit opening Thursday.

“Linked to Africa, and not only to Africa, there is another fundamental issue that Italy has placed at the center of the presidency, which is the issue of migration, the increasingly worrying role that trafficking organizations are assuming, clearly exploiting the desperation of human beings,” she said.

Meloni has a controversial five-year deal with neighboring Albania for the Balkan country to host thousands of asylum-seekers while Italy processes their claims. She has also spearheaded the “Mattei Plan” for Africa, a continentwide strategy to increase economic opportunities at home and so discourage migration to Europe.

More than 22,000 people have arrived in Italy by sea so far in 2024, according to UNHCR figures. In 2023, more than 157,000 arrived, and nearly 2,000 died or went missing while attempting the perilous Mediterranean crossing.

The United States has also been struggling with a growing number of migrants at its southern border. President Joe Biden introduced new policies to curb migration after a bill he tried to get through Congress failed to pass.

However, immigrant rights advocates filed lawsuits on Thursday over the new policies, and it is unclear whether they will be able to withstand the legal challenges in the U.S. courts.

Tackling migration “is a common challenge,” European Council President Charles Michel said after arriving at the summit.