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G8 summit moved from Chicago to Camp David

White House gives no reason for shift, saying only that Obama is inviting leaders to Maryland to ‘facilitate free-flowing discussion’

Barack Obama has moved the planned G8 meeting of the world’s top nations from Chicago to the president’s fortified Camp David compound.

The meeting of the world’s richest nations was originally scheduled for Obama’s home town of Chicago on 18-19 May. The G8 summit has often been a target for activists and was this year expected to attract massive protests from the Occupy movement and others.

In a statement, the White House said it had moved the venue “to facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G8 partners”.

Obama had originally planned to follow the G8 meeting in Chicago with a meeting with Nato leaders that is expected to discuss the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan. The Nato meeting will still go ahead in Chicago.

Chicago police had estimated that the overlapping G8 and Nato summits could attract up to 10,000 protesters. Two major demonstrations were already planned for downtown Chicago during the summit. The city was the site for some of the biggest protests and riots of the 1960s.

Camp David, formally known as the Naval Support Facility Thurmont, is situated about 100km (60 miles) north of Washington in Maryland. The high-security venue will shield G8 delegates from any possible protesters.

The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former White House chief of staff, had lobbied hard for the city to host both events. His office put out a statement wishing Obama and the other world leaders well at the G8 meeting at Camp David.

“Hosting the Nato Summit is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Chicago to the world and the world to Chicago, and we are proud to host the 50 heads of state, foreign and defense ministers from the Nato and ISAF countries in our great city [on] May 19-21,” the mayor’s office said.

Camp David was opened by wartime president Franklin Roosevelt, and was the venue for talks that led to the landmark Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel in 1978, which were brokered by president Jimmy Carter.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/05/g8-summit-moved-chicago-camp-david