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    L-R Front Row: Nigeria's Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, Guinea's President Alpha Conde, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi pose for a family photo with other participants of the G7 Summit expanded session in Taormina, Sicily, Italy May 27, 2017

    'Scandal,' 'A New Low': G7 Summit Promised Little, Delivered Even Less

    © REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
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    Record low expectations about the latest G7 summit were matched by the leaders' inability to come up with any new policies during the meeting.

    On Saturday, the two-day G7 summit ended in the Italian town of Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of seven leading developed countries, as well as several other EU leaders and African heads of state, discussed foreign policy, the global economy and the migration crisis.

    At the end of the meeting, the leaders released a communique, which reiterated several policies, such as support for free trade and nuclear non-proliferation, but contained few new initiatives.

    ONE, a campaigning and advocacy organization which aims to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, called the conclusion of the G7 "a new low."

    "In a year of greatly-diminished expectations, the G7 have managed to set a new low.  The early promise of this summit was crushed by the Trump Administration’s hostile negotiating posture and the evident lack of ambition of other leaders," Friederike Roeder, director at ONE, stated.

    "The G7 would be wise not to sell their final statement as a success just because of the last-minute agreement checking the box with words such as 'famine,' 'gender' or 'sustainable development.' Only real investments can save lives and safeguard our common future, not words."

    In an effort to stem the flow of migrants and refugees across the Mediterranean, the G7 had invited the leaders of several African countries to the meeting. 

    "Perhaps the choice (to be in) Taormina and Sicily says much about how important our relations are with Africa," Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in his introductory address.

    However, the presence of the leaders of Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia turned out to have little impact on the G7. 

    ​Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou called on the G7 to take more measures to resolve the Libyan crisis and to fulfil their promises of aid to tackle poverty.

    "Be it Niger, a transit nation, or the countries of origin, it is only through development that we will prevent illegal migration," Issoufou said.

    Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Its city, Agadez, is a popular waystation for migrants attempting to cross the Sahara Desert to reach Libya and eventually Europe via Italy.

    The Central Mediterranean migratory route is currently the most popular migrant route to Europe, and more than 37,000 migrants arrived on the coast of Italy between January and April this year.

    Italy had hoped to persuade other G7 members to implement a legal migration plan so that migrants avoid the treacherous route across the Mediterranean Sea. However, the G7 failed to develop any real solution.

    Oxfam activists wearing masks of the leaders of the G7 summit; from left, Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stage a demonstration in Giardini Naxos, near the venue of the G7 summit in the Sicilian town of Taormina, southern Italy, Friday, May 26, 2017
    © AP Photo / Paolo Santalucia
    Oxfam activists wearing masks of the leaders of the G7 summit; from left, Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stage a demonstration in Giardini Naxos, near the venue of the G7 summit in the Sicilian town of Taormina, southern Italy, Friday, May 26, 2017

    "This is the scandal of this summit: That G7 leaders could come right here in Sicily on the doorstep of the sea where 1,400 people have drowned this year alone and fly home tonight without doing anything serious about it," Edmund Cairns, Oxfam's policy adviser on humanitarian crises, responded.

    In a public protest, activists from Oxfam donned masks depicting the G7 world leaders and erected a mock brick wall to complain against their migration policy.

    Protesters wear masks depicting the leaders of the G7 countries during a demonstration organised by Oxfam in Giardini Naxos near Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 27, 2017
    © REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane
    Protesters wear masks depicting the leaders of the G7 countries during a demonstration organised by Oxfam in Giardini Naxos near Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 27, 2017
    Greenpeace also staged a demonstration. Their activists sailed off the seafront of Giardini Naxo on kayaks and unfurled banners with messages such as "Planet Earth first." Onshore, they erected a four-meter high Statue of Liberty in a lifejacket, to symbolize the plight of migrants. 

    Following the end of the summit on Saturday, around 1,500 anti-globalization protestors attended a march in the seaside town. One group of protestors scuffled with security forces after they attempted to break through a police cordon.

    Related:

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    disappointment, summit, G7, Sicily, Italy
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