Greece and Ukraine crises drown out G7 summit agenda

Sat Jun 6, 2015 6:00pm EDT
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* Merkel, Hollande speak with Greek PM on eve of meeting

* U.S. officials fear 'Grexit' impact, want Europe to find deal

* Summit will also discuss Islamic State, Boko Haram threats

By Noah Barkin

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, June 7 (Reuters) - Leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations meet on Sunday in the Bavarian Alps for a summit overshadowed by Greece's debt crisis and ongoing violence in Ukraine.

Host Angela Merkel is hoping to secure commitments from her G7 guests to tackle global warming to build momentum in the run-up to a major United Nations climate summit in Paris in December. The German agenda also foresees discussions on global health issues, from Ebola to antibiotics and tropical diseases.

But on the evening before the German chancellor welcomes the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United States, she and French President Francois Hollande were forced into their fourth emergency phone call in 10 days with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to try to break a deadlock between Athens and its international creditors.

The two sides have been wrangling for months over the terms of a cash-for-reform deal for Greece. Without aid from euro zone partners and the IMF, Greece could default on its loans within weeks, possibly forcing it out of the currency bloc.

An upsurge of violence in eastern Ukraine will also play a prominent role at the meeting at Schloss Elmau, a luxury hotel perched in the picturesque mountains of southern Germany near the Austrian border.   Continued...