As the G-20 summit begins Sunday, world leaders discuss the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris and other pressing issues on the agenda, including global war, economics and migration. French President Francois Hollande will not attend the summit, instead sending Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Michel Sapin. Hollande will remain in Paris to continue leadership efforts after Friday's coordinated Islamic State attacks killed at least 129 people. Nearly 100 are hospitalized in critical condition. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo
BELEK, Turkey, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- As the G-20 summit begins Sunday, world leaders discuss the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris and other pressing issues on the agenda, including global war, economics and migration.
The annual G-20 summit, held this year at the Regnum Carya Hotel Convention Center in the Turkish city of Belek, brings together the most powerful economies in the world. Typically, the summit is used as a forum for world leaders and central banks to discuss economic issues, but the Islamic State attacks in Paris shifted the conversation from global growth to global security.
French President Francois Hollande will not attend the summit, instead sending Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Michel Sapin. Hollande will remain in Paris to continue leadership efforts after Friday's coordinated Islamic State attacks killed at least 129 people. Nearly 100 are hospitalized in critical condition.
U.S. President Barack Obama met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday. Both leaders condemned the deadly Paris attacks.
"We shall, of course, continue to carry on with our discussions at the G-20 summit within the predetermined agenda items," Erdogan told journalists after the meeting. "However, we will make strong emphasis on the importance of having a firm stance against international terrorism, given the situation that has been going on around the world."
Obama hailed the relationship between Turkey and the United States in the fight against the Islamic State. Obama said the leaders discussed plans to "fortify" the Turkish/Syrian border, where the Islamic State operates, adding the United States stands "should-to-shoulder" with Turkey and its willingness to help refugees of the Syrian civil war.
"Traditionally, the G20 has been a forum primarily to discuss important economic issues facing the globe," Obama said. "But as President Erdogan noted, the skies have been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago,"
Syria has been blighted by a complex civil war in which the Islamic State, the Syrian government and multiple Syrian rebel groups fight for control of territory, causing a mass exodus of migrants seeking refuge elsewhere.
More than 3 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq and nearly 800,000 have reached several countries of the European Union, creating a migrant crisis that's straining economies attempting to cope with the influx of asylum-seekers.
Speaking at the G-20 summit, European Council President Donald Tusk said Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war has increased the number of migrants fleeing Syria and reaching Europe, adding that Russia should target Islamic State militants and not "moderate Syrian opposition" as Russia attempts to support longtime ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"We need not only more cooperation, but also more good will, especially from Russian action on the ground in Syria," Tusk said, warning that Russia's operations will "only result [in] a new wave of refugees. And we have some signals that in fact it's started.''
The G-20 group is expected to reach an agreement on Monday that declares migration a global problem that must be addressed in a coordinated strategy. Declaring it as a global problem will open the door to some countries like Turkey, the country hosting the most Syrian refugees, to receive further financial aid, despite opposition from China, India and Russia.
"We call upon all states to contribute to responding to this crisis, and share in the burdens associated with it, including through refugee resettlement, other forms of humanitarian admission, humanitarian aid and efforts to ensure that refugees can access services, education and livelihood opportunities," a draft communique of the agreement reads.
On Sunday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said countries should not reject refugees after it was revealed that one of the attackers in the Paris attack entered the EU with a Syrian passport through the Greek island of Leros in October with other refugees. A manhunt is underway for an eighth suspect.
"The one responsible for the attacks in Paris... he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker," Juncker said.
On the economic front, G-20 leaders aim to raise global growth by more than 2 percent (about $2 trillion) over the next five years. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development delivered a plan to G-20 leaders calling for improved transparency, the closure of tax loopholes, the reduction of interest rates and the restriction of global companies' ability to use low-tax countries and tax havens.
OECD estimates these proposals could raise up to $250 billion a year in additional tax revenue, particularly in developing countries.
Countries attending the G-20 summit include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the EU collectively.
The G-20 group, formed in 1999, accounts for 90 percent of global gross domestic product, 80 percent of world trade and about 66 percent of global population.