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Canada Says G20 Summit Should Focus on Economy Despite Syria
Source: news.xinhuanet.com
Source Date: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Country: Canada
Created: Sep 02, 2013

OTTAWA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Economy should be the priority at the upcoming G20 summit although the Syria crisis would be a hot topic, the chief spokesman of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday.
 
"There is no doubt it would have an impact if we have a strike that happens before the summit," said Andrew MacDougall, referring to Washington's threat to punish the Syrian government for an alleged chemical-weapons attack last week outside Damascus.
 
"But right now we're expecting to talk about the global economy. That's the priority right now for the G20 meeting," he added at a briefing about Harper's trip to Russia for the Sept. 5-6 event in St. Petersburg.
 
In a news release, Harper said Canada hopes that this year's summit will result in commitments for further action on key issues such as financial regulation and trade liberalization.
 
"The world is looking to the G20 to lay the framework necessary for sustainable global economic growth and job creation," he said.
 
Harper noted that while Canada has a strong economic record, it is not immune to external developments and remains vulnerable to risks that continue to weigh on the global economy.
 
The members of the G20 account for more than 85 percent of the world's economy and two thirds of the world's population, making it the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
 
On Thursday, Harper said Canada has no plan for a military mission of its own in Syria, although the government supports its allies and has been convinced of the need for "forceful action."
 
The conflict in Syria is "overwhelmingly sectarian in nature and does not have, at the present, any ideal or obvious outcomes," he added.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that he has not made a final decision about a military strike against Syria, but he is considering a limited and narrow action in response to the alleged chemical attack.
 
The Obama administration said in an intelligence report that it has "high confidence" that the Syrian government launched the attack, which the report said killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.
 
The Syrian government has strongly denied the accusation.
 
A UN team of experts is to leave Damascus on Saturday for The Hague with samples they collected from the site of the alleged attack, and they will analyze the samples and compile a report later, a UN spokesman said Friday.
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