G-8 Summit Begins With Focus on Trade, Syria

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland – As the G-8 summit gets underway in Northern Ireland, leaders of eight of the world’s wealthiest nations are looking for progress on lowering trans-Atlantic trade barriers.

They’re also hoping to push the warring factions in Syria toward the negotiating table.

Ahead of the official welcome gathering, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have been appealing to their colleagues to take inspiration from Northern Ireland’s efforts to reconcile British Protestants and Irish Catholics. Obama told an audience of 1,800 teenagers from dozens of largely segregated schools that Northern Ireland’s young people must take the lead in building on the Good Friday peace accord of 1998.

Obama and Cameron then visited together one of Northern Ireland’s relatively few integrated elementary schools aimed at mixing children from both communities.

The two leaders and counterparts from the European Union are expected to unveil a formal agreement today to open talks on an EU-U.S. free trade pace. It would be designed to cut tariffs, boost exports and fuel economic growth.

Later, over a working dinner, the focus will be on President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s support for the Syrian government.

(Copyright 2013, Associated Press, All rights reserved.)

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