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World: Summit Of The Eight Opens Today In Denver

Denver, 20 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- International terrorism, drug smuggling, nuclear proliferation, aid to Africa, and China's takover of Hong Kong are all on the agenda at this weekend's annual summit of leading industrial nations. But economics and world trade are still expected to take center-stage in the two-days of discussions.

The meeting in Denver, dubbed the Summit of the Eight, includes the world's seven richest industrial democracies (the G-7) plus Russia. It is being hosted by U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Attending are the leaders of the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. At Clinton's invitation, Russian President Boris Yeltsin will open discussions tonight at the leaders' first working dinner.

Clinton's chief aide organizing the summit, Daniel Tarullo, says Clinton asked Yeltsin to begin the evening session with his assessment of global developments since the last summit in Lyon, France. Yeltsin was unable to attend that meeting because he was running for re-election and in ill health.

Before dinner, Yeltsin and Clinton are due to meet for what senior White House officials say will be a continuation of their discussions at the Russian-U.S. summit in Helsinki earlier this year.

One official said Clinton and Yeltsin will review security arrangements leading to an undivided Europe, further strengthening of the Russian-NATO pact, and prospects on the arms control front. The official says that will include U.S. hopes of moving forward with the Start Two agreement, beginning on Start Three, and achieving a framework on the Conventional Forces in Europe agreement.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss strategies to bring Russia more effectively into the global economy.