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MIDEAST, CHINA The summit comes at a time of extraordinary global turmoil. As well as the conflict in Ukraine – now in its third year – the Hamas-Israel conflict is raging and economic tensions are rising between China and Western countries. Many G7 countries are also in political flux. Everyone in Puglia is aware this could be Biden’s last G7 summit if he loses to Donald Trump in the November US elections. Britain’s Rishi Sunak is tipped to be ousted in Jul 4 elections, while France’s Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz are both under pressure after gains by the far right in EU elections last weekend. The G7 summit opens on Thursday morning with a short session on Africa, development and climate change, before turning to the Middle East. The leaders have already announced their support for a Gaza truce deal outlined by Biden, which would also see the release of hostages taken in Hamas’s Oct 7 attack on Israel. Jordan’s King Abdullah II – a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause whose country signed a peace treaty with Israel 30 years ago – is among around a dozen non-G7 guests also attending who are not, however, participating in the working sessions. They include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and India’s Narendra Modi. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – whose country holds the rotating G20 presidency this year – as well as Argentina’s Javier Milei and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also plan to attend. All the guests are invited to a dinner on Friday night at the Borgo Egnazia luxury hotel complex, built in the style of a traditional village. With security extremely tight, the venue is far away from protesters and journalists, with the media centre located some 60 kilometres away in Bari. Another key issue in Puglia, to be discussed on Friday, will be concerns about China’s so-called “industrial overcapacity”, particularly in green energy and technology sectors such as solar panels and electric vehicles. The US, EU and Japan have all voiced concern that generous subsidies from Beijing are resulting in a flood of cheap goods hitting the global market, threatening Western firms.

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