Genoa, 20 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized democracies are gathering today under tight security for a summit in Genoa, Italy. During the three-day meeting, the leaders of Russia, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada are expected to discuss a range of economic and social issues, including ways to promote more global trade and economic growth, the AIDS epidemic, and global warming.
Security issues and the conflicts in Macedonia and the Middle East are also expected to be discussed. U.S. President George W. Bush has said he plans to discuss with Putin and the other leaders his controversial plan to move beyond the 1972 ABM treaty to allow the U.S. to build a missile defense shield.
Security is tight in the seaport of Genoa. Italian authorities have barricaded the area around the summit venue and deployed some 20,000 police and troops to protect against disturbances by anti-globalization protesters.
More than 30,000 people staged a peaceful march in Genoa yesterday in the first of a series of planned mass protests.
Protesters continue to arrive in Genoa, but it isn't clear if the number will reach the 100,000 figure organizers have been hoping for.
Protest groups have planned a series of marches and demonstrations opposed to the trade and economic initiatives, which they say weaken labor and environmental standards in poor countries. The summit ends on Sunday.