Enniskillen (Northern Ireland), June 17: The G8 Summit of leaders of prominent world economies began at Lough Erne golf resort here on Monday. The summit is most likely to be dominated by discussions on the US call to arm rebels in Syria.
US President Barack Obama was planning to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit to discuss the topic of providing arms to the rebels in their struggle against the tyrannical regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Putin has been strongly opposing such a move.
Earlier, a casually dressed British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the seven other heads of state before they joined a meeting on the world economy. The participating leaders include those from France, Canada, Japan, Germany and Italy.
Prior to his joining the G8 Summit, Obama addressed a young audience in Belfast where he termed the peace in Northern Ireland a "blueprint" for those who live in conflict zones across the globe. He said leaders might negotiate the terms of peace, but its fate ultimately resides with the people.
The G8 nations account for 50 per cent of the world's economic output and they have struggled to come out from the global recession of 2008 and 2009.
Sources in the White House said last week that President Obama planned to inform the other seven heads of state about Washington's plan to arm Syrian rebels at the summit. The USA decided to supply the arms to the rebels last week, claiming it had evidence that the Syrian President's forces had put chemical weapons to use.
The White House also said that Obama would speak about his support for the country's National Security Agency's surveillance of telephone records of the US citizens and monitoring of the foreign citizens' use of the Internet.