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Volume 2, Issue 3
Friday, May 15, 1998
BIRMINGHAM - The G8 is just a logo at the Birmingham Summit, and not really a G8 economic summit. The G7 leaders met behind closed-doors at an undisclosed time this afternoon, but Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, was not invited, according to the United States Information Agency (USIA).
All the G7 leaders agreed to exclude Russia from the meeting, says a senior official of the Japanese delegation.
So while the G7 leaders discussed the Asian financial crisis, the IMF and the Japanese economy, Jacques Santer, president of the European Commission entertained Yeltsin.
The reason for Russia's exclusion is straight-forward for Japan. "Russia is not a member of the IMF, Japan's senior official said, "That's basically the reason."
Russia has not been participating in the IMF support to the Asian countries, which was the centre of the G7 leaders' discussions, says Japan's senior official. The leaders' discussions were primarily based on what was discussed at the finance ministers' conference, and that's the G7 group, he added.
But the Russians don't seem to feel left out. A senior official of the Russian delegation said until the summit of the eight officially begins, whatever happens before or after the summit of the eight doesn't concern Russia.
The G8 Birmingham Summit officially started at 6 p.m., and the meeting of the G7 leaders was not officially on the summit agenda. But Jim Steinberg, deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs, did mention the meeting at a White House press briefing on May 11.
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