Canada said on Friday that it would cut this year's June summit of leaders from the Group of Eight leading nations to two days from three, largely because of its decision to slash the number of delegates taking part.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said the summit in the Rocky Mountain resort of Kananaskis, Alta. would start on June 26 and end on June 27, rather than June 28 as had originally been planned.
Kananaskis has very limited accommodation and delegates will be limited to a total of 350 from all eight countries, well down from the estimated 2,000 who attended last year's G8 summit in Genoa.
"It is in keeping with the prime minister's wish - and his discussions with other foreign leaders - to hold a smaller, retreat-style meeting where the leaders can have more intimate discussions on important issues," Mr. Chrétien's spokesman Duncan Fulton told Reuters.
"It's clear that the important discussions which will be taking place can be held in two days," he said.
Mr. Chrétien chose Kananaskis in a bid to avoid the mass demonstrations and riots that plagued the Genoa summit and also because of the growing conviction among leaders that the summit process had become far too inflated and cumbersome.
Organizers of the summit have said that security would be tighter - and likely more costly - than at previous summits, given the new threat of global terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
Safety measures, it has been reported, will include a massive perimeter built around the summit site to keep protesters and potential threats away. The Canadian Forces, RCMP and local police are developing a plan to create a barrier that will extend kilometres.
The federal government has agreed to shell out at least $34.3-million to cover Calgary's security costs associated with the G8 summit, the city's mayor said last November. That is almost double the amount initially estimated, but the city said the cost could rise even higher after the bills are tallied. The Solicitor-General's office has agreed to increase funding if needed.
The G8 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - the so-called Group of Seven leading industrialized nations - as well as Russia.
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