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Pienaar's Politics in Northern Ireland for G8

Friday 14 June 2013, 19:06

 BBC Radio 5 live BBC Radio 5 live

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By Dino Sofos, BBC Radio 5 live’s Senior Political Producer:

This weekend Pienaar's Politics is coming from Lough Erne in Northern Ireland to cover the G8 summit for 5 live. John’s guests will include Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

The G8 is the yearly gathering of the leaders of the world’s eight wealthiest countries (UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada).

These summits tend to be held in high end holiday resorts in the middle of nowhere. This is mainly for security purposes.

This year’s venue is a golf resort surrounded by a moat-style lake. As you can imagine, eight of the most powerful people in the world discussing further globalisation in a hotel, is bound to cause the security services a bit of a headache.

It’s symbolic that David Cameron has decided to host the G8 in Northern Ireland. He’s keen to show how much things have improved in areas like Enniskillen since the troubles. You can bet that the police will be on high alert though.

This is my first G8, but John has been going to them since I was in short trousers.

I’ve been to my fair share of political conferences and summits though, and as with all these things, the glamour is reserved for the dignitaries.

While the leaders are enjoying Ferrero Rocher style service behind the ring of steel, us hacks will be eating stale sandwiches in the media centre (I hear it’s on the roof of a multi-storey car park).

We have a makeshift studio in there, so John will be keeping you up to speed with all the latest developments from the negotiations.

We’ll also be bringing you the leader’s press conferences and interviews with players and observers both in and out of the summit centre.

In fact, our first stop when we arrive in Belfast on Saturday is at two big rallies being held by charities, trade unions and other protest groups. We’ll be asking the protestors what messages they have for the world’s leaders. You can hear what they have to say on Weekend Breakfast.

As the UK is hosting this year’s summit, David Cameron will set the agenda. I was invited to a briefing at 10 Downing Street the other day, where the Prime Minister’s team set out his priorities for the summit.

Officially, Global trade and tax transparency are at the top of the list. The Prime Minister wants to make progress on an EU-US trade deal, which he says would be worth £10 billion to the UK economy.

However, after the news that the US is looking to arm the Syrian rebels, you can bet that once the small talk is out of the way, the main topic of conversation in the so-called G8 ‘bilaterals’ (chats between leaders) will be what to do about President Assad.

It should be an interesting few days and I’ll be tweeting throughout @dinosofos.

Pienaar's Politics Sunday 16 from 7

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