ROME, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the financial crisis, the crisis in Gaza and the gas dispute during a telephone call on Friday, Italian News Agency ANSA said.
The call was part of Berlusconi's ongoing contacts with G8 leaders since
Italy took over the rotating
presidency of the Group of Eight most industrialized countries on January 1,
according to a statement of the Italian premier's office.
Merkel briefed Berlusconi on a 50-million euro anti-crisis package
which her government plans to unveil next week in a bid to revive Europe's biggest economy.
The two decided to keep in touch regularly ahead of meetings of the
G20 and NATO in April and the G8 summit in Italy in July,
the statement said.
On Friday, Berlusconi and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso also
discussed a series of issues that will come up during G8 meetings during a long
telephone conversation, the premier's office said.
Berlusconi told Aso that Italy, as G8 host country, plans to
focus its initiatives on the economy, energy issues, sustainable development and
Other issues on the agenda include disarmament, the fight against
terrorism and peace efforts in world hot spots.
This year Italy
holds the one-year rotating presidency of the G8, whose members are
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.