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G-8 summit disappoints many, but not Berlusconi

Italy's leader deemed the event a logistical 'miracle' after a last-minute change of venue. But critics decried lack of concrete progress on climate change, Iran, and trade.

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As the Group of Eight summit wrapped up Friday, the assessment of what it had achieved was rather less bright than the sun shining on the rugged peaks overlooking this Italian mountain city.

The three-day gathering brought together the leaders of nearly 40 nations, together with 3,500 journalists, with security provided by a small army: 15,000 Italian police and soldiers, backed up by helicopters and even unmanned aerial drones.

The summit tackled an ambitious range of global issues, from world trade and hunger to regional conflicts like Afghanistan. But as world leaders left the drab police barracks that have been their home since Wednesday, there was concern that despite Italy's colossal organizational efforts, the event had failed to produce much of substance.

The G-8 countries had squandered "an historic opportunity" to commit to midterm cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, said Greenpeace, as activists in inflatable boats painted the words "G-8: Failed" on the side of a coal ship in the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome.

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