G-8 to focus on Afghanistan under Italian presidency
Earlier this month Italy said it would increase its number of troops in Afghanistan by 500 to 2,800 for six months next year.
Rome -- Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Thursday Afghanistan will be one of the G8's main priorities when Rome takes over the rotating presidency of the rich nations' club on January 1.
Afghanistan will be one of the "political priorities" of Italy's presidency, he said during a Christmas message to Italian troops stationed abroad.
"Under the Italian presidency, the world's largest players will focus on perhaps today's most important theme of world security," he said, adding that Italy plans to host a meeting of G-8 foreign ministers in June to focus on "stabilizing" Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.
China, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt may also participate in the meeting expected to be held in Trieste, northeast Italy.
Earlier this month Italy said it would increase its number of troops in Afghanistan by 500 to 2,800 for six months next year in the face of a "delicate operational situation" in western Herat province.
As well as Italy, the Group of Eight industrialized nations comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Italy is also due to host a 14-state summit in March to discuss the "human dimension" of the world financial crisis.