G8 invite emerging powers to new round of talks

L'AQUILA: Leaders of five emerging economic powerhouses are set to join a summit of the world's richest nations to hammer out differences over how to combat poverty and climate change.

The first day of the three-day Group of Eight summit saw few concrete agreements emerge with Russia enhancing its reputation as the club's maverick member by rejecting the G8's ambitious goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"No one wants to sacrifice their economic growth," said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's top economic advisor Arkady Dvorkovich.

He rejected the idea of developed countries cutting global emissions by 80 percent by 2050 as "unacceptable and unattainable".

But if Russia found itself in a minority on Wednesday, its reservations are likely to be echoed by China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa (the Group of Five) as well as Egypt when they join discussions on development issues.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon reflected a feeling among emerging nations that richer countries were not doing enough for the world's poor at a time of economic hardship and urged previous aid pledges to be honoured.

"We are worried about the channeling of resources to restore international credit, especially in developing countries where credit and investment were particularly hard hit by the crisis," he told reporters late Wednesday.

He also voiced "concern about the surge in protectionist practices that impede recovery" amid widespread calls in the United States to do more to shore up domestic markets.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma meanwhile said he wanted to see faster reform of both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund "to ensure representation for developing world".

The talks will be further expanded in the afternoon to include Australia, Indonesia and South Korea to discuss climate change and energy. Denmark, which hosts the UN Climate Conference in December, will also take part.

Kazuo Kodama, spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, said richer nations hoped to convince major developing economies that greening their economies should necessarily impact on their levels of growth.

"We would hope and expect both India and China to introduce energy efficient technologies, making their production lines, steel mills and power stations more eco-friendly or green," he told AFP.

"India and China can continue to enjoy positive sum economic growth but overall their greenhouse gas emissions will hit a peak."

China's President Hu Jintao will not be there, having dramatically cut short his visit on the eve of the summit after a weekend of violence in northwestern Xinjiang province which saw 156 people die in the main city of Urumqi.

While the G8 held back from comment on Xinjiang, they rebuked North Korea over its recent long-range rocket launches and underground nuclear tests.

Russia resisted efforts to turn the G8 into a platform to condemn Iran, but the G8 issued a joint declaration expressing "serious concern".