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G7 meeting in Italy, Biden emphasizes support for Ukraine

G7 meeting in Italy, Biden emphasizes support for Ukraine

President Joe Biden and the leaders of the world's seven richest countries are meeting in Italy, underscoring support for Ukraine's fight against the Russian occupier and the need to reach a ceasefire in Gaza. Voice of America correspondent Patsy Widakuswara closely followed the meeting and continues to bring a material from Borgo Egnazia, the place where the G7 meeting is taking place.

A display of paratroopers marked the end of the first day of a meeting of G7 leaders who discussed global challenges, including wars in the Middle East and Europe.

Special attention was paid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden signed a security agreement with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"We will continue our support to ensure that Ukraine wins and Russia does not," said President Biden.

G7 leaders backed Mr. Biden's plan to give Ukraine a $50 billion loan. The loan will be paid from accumulated interest, about $3 billion a year, on frozen Russian assets worth $280 billion.

"Finance ministers are looking into the details and will clarify this as soon as possible," said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

American officials say that by the end of the meeting they will have a clear framework of action.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed concern about the continuation of Western commitment to Ukraine, while showing gratitude for the security agreement.

"The issue of NATO is included in the text of the agreement where it is emphasized that America supports Ukraine's membership in NATO in the future and confirms that our security agreement is a bridge to Ukraine's membership in NATO."

Washington announced earlier this week new sanctions against those who help Moscow's military industry, including Chinese companies that sell semiconductors to Russia.

The war in Gaza is also at the center of the talks. President Biden said he was unsure about a quick ceasefire.

"The biggest obstacle so far is the refusal of Hamas to sign it, even though they have presented something similar. Whether it will come to fruition remains to be seen. We will continue our efforts," said President Biden.

In an effort to stem the tide of African migrants entering Europe through Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has made the issue of migration and investment in Africa the main theme of her G7 presidency.

"Italy has put at the center of its presidency the issue of migration and the increasingly disturbing role of trafficking organizations, clearly exploiting the desperation (of migrants)," said Italy's prime minister, Giorgia Meloni.

Prime Minister Meloni's agenda for Africa is in line with the G7 Partnership for Infrastructure and Global Investment. The goal is to raise around $600 billion in infrastructure financing by 2027, as an alternative to China's "One Belt One Road" initiative./VOA

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