Obama, Medvedev Reaffirm Efforts To Eradicate Polio Ahead Of G8 Summit

President Barack Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Deauville, France, ahead of the G8 summit, ABC News’ “Political Punch” blog reports. “The two issued a number of joint statements and agreements on counterterrorism, civil aviation security, visa issues, the Bering Strait region, a joint report assessing 21st Century Missile Challenges, innovation, the rule of law, smart grid partnership, eradicating polio, and medical research,” according to the blog (Tapper/Miller, 5/26). “Obama and Medvedev recognized the collaborative efforts already underway between the United States and Russia to eradicate polio globally, and pledged to continue that cooperative until the eradication objective is finally achieved,” a press release from USAID states (5/26).

Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail reports that G8 nations’ “deep fiscal emergencies” have almost dashed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s hopes of getting leaders to follow up on maternal health aid pledges. The newspaper highlights recent reports showing “the G8 nations are falling far short of both their maternal-health and their larger African aid pledges – and that the European countries, traditionally the largest donors to such humanitarian initiatives, are faring the worst.”

“Canadian officials said in briefings that they want to see the G8 leaders issue a statement that renews their commitments to their Muskoka pledges to the maternal-health fund,” the newspaper writes. Dimitri Soudas, the prime minister’s communications director, said Harper planned to raise “the importance of delivering on commitments and monitoring their progress” (Clark/Saunders, 5/26).

Ahead of the start of the summit, the U.N. News Centre notes that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “is due to participate in sessions of the so-called G8 Outreach Programme, where he is expected to continue to advocate for sustained attention to women’s and children’s health as a cornerstone of the global development agenda” (5/26).

Also on Thursday, a “drag queen in a sequin dress and pink boa made a surprise appearance at the G8 summit” to criticize “leaders’ unkept promises to provide AIDS treatment around the world,” Agence France-Presse reports. “A small group of protesters handed out flyers announcing ‘Miss Promise – guest of honour at the G8’ and ‘Unkept promises are promises that kill’ inside the tightly secured press room in the France’s northern resort of Deauville,” the news service writes (5/26).

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