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THE WEEK AHEAD

LONDON : Guess Who's Coming To G-7?

July 09, 1991

The annual economic summit meeting of the leaders of the world's seven leading industrial nations, which opens in London next Monday, will have an extra added attraction this year: Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, hat in hand, seeking a massive dose of foreign aid to prop up his country's crumbling economy.

Lest they give the impression that Gorbachev is one of them, the seven leaders have put off their session with the Soviet leader until immediately after the summit formally adjourns two days later.

U.S. officials have steadfastly insisted that what the Soviets need is not foreign aid but free-market reforms. They nevertheless fear that the force of Gorbachev's personality will extract pledges of financial support that the so-called G-7 can ill afford.

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