For the second year in a row, Russia has been left out of the G8, er, G7 summit, which will see President Obama meet with the leaders of Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and Japan at the Sunday-Monday summit, held at the Schloss Elmau castle, south of Munich. The participating countries called off what was to be last year's G8 summit in Russia in protest of the country's annexation of Crimea. This year's host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, previously said Russia's return is "unimaginable" unless a ceasefire and peace plan can be solidified, USA Today reports. As Canada's Stephen Harper put it to the AP, "I don't think Russia under Vladimir Putin belongs in the G7. Period." A guide to what's planned for this 41st summit and what the Guardian describes as its 26 hours:
- Merkel plans to pursue an "ambitious agenda" that the Guardian reports was hashed out over 18 months; topics include trade deals, health emergencies like Ebola, Ukraine, female empowerment, marine pollution, and world hunger, report the AP and Guardian. Leaders from Iraq, Nigeria, and Tunisia will serve as guest speakers, describing their domestic experiences with terrorism.
- But Merkel's main focus is climate change. Germany and France are expected to push for a commitment to zero carbon emissions as a long-term goal, but "there is not yet agreement," Merkel says; Canada and Japan will likely be the toughest to convince, with the US somewhere in the middle of the spectrum on the issue.
- Reuters reports Obama has an agenda item of his own: pushing EU leaders to keep up sanctions against Russia.
- In what the AP calls the "biggest operation in their history," Bavarian police say 17,000 officers and 30 helicopters are at the ready in case of protests. The Guardian reports many Germans are displeased at the summit's price tag—roughly $220 million—which is largely covered by taxpayers, as well as its "elitist" nature (the paper points to the absence of China and India).
- Barack Obama won't be arriving alone: His entourage will be 2,000-strong.