Cameron proud, police ready as G8 approaches
Updated: 2013-06-14 08:16
By Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)
With the G8 Summit just around the corner, the UK government, the country's police, and local anti-G8 protesters have all been busy.
During a news conference for foreign media on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron stressed that key issues of trade, transparency, tax and security would feature heavily on the agenda.
The United Kingdom assumed the one-year presidency of the G8 in January. This year's event is being held in Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
The remote location is seen as a good choice, to avoid mass protests - but in Cameron's mind, holding the summit in Fermanagh is also a "very proud" moment for the country.
"Frankly, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, it would have been unthinkable to hold a G8 in Northern Ireland," Cameron said. "I'm really proud that we're taking the G8 there, to showcase this extraordinary part of our country.
"Northern Ireland's prospects have been transformed by the peace process over the last 20 years, and I think we'll be able to show the world this is a modern and dynamic part of the United Kingdom.
"It's open for business, open for investment, a great place to visit," he said.
But Cameron added he would not be taking the opportunity to showcase some of the area's leisure opportunities by going fishing or playing golf with fellow leaders, suggesting that photos of them relaxing would not be good for anyone's image, especially with voters.
"I think the issues around golf and fishing aren't so much to do with security, as re-electability," he joked.
Besides Cameron, experts on international politics and governance have also keen to accept interviews.
Some will be at Queen's University Belfast on Friday to debate the issues and challenges facing the world leaders attending the summit.
The absence of China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and other emerging powers has prompted some analysts to question the significance of the summit, but John Kirton, a director of the G8 Research Group, insisted: "With its central themes of trade, tax and transparency, it explicitly returns the G8 to its traditional economic agenda, and thus to a closer, more cooperative relationship with the newer G20."
Kirton added that the event enriches the G8's historic accomplishments in development, by mobilizing money for nutrition and moving beyond development assistance to emphasizing good governance, the rule of law, domestic resource mobilization and accountability in developing countries.
Protesters, meanwhile, have also continued their vociferous opposition to the event, and the authorities are bracing themselves for a challenging few days next week.