Sir Michael Jay, Britain's chief G-8 negotiator, said Monday that he expected Iraq to be discussed as well as North Korea, because the leaders "are going to talk about what is on their mind."
Philip Gordon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, told a briefing last week that Blair's Africa and environment agenda was "a chance for him to change the subject because the subject in Britain in particular has been his unpopularity and Iraq and his closeness with George W. Bush."
Blair's popularity has been badly dented because he stood with Bush on the Iraq war.
During a press conference in Copenhagen on Wednesday with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, en route to Gleneagles for the summit, Bush strongly defended his decision to go in to Iraq, and thanked Denmark for contributing more than 500 troops to the coalition.
White House officials have made it clear Bush intends to give his G-8 partners an accounting of the course of stabilization.
G-8 members Russia, France and Germany sharply opposed the invasion of Iraq.
A Kremlin official said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would push the Group of Eight to work toward giving the United Nations a leading role in Iraq, as well as setting a possible timeframe for U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq.
Despite its opposition to the war, Russia has backed stabilization efforts, repeatedly expressed concern over the continuing violence. Moscow also appears intent on playing a greater role in Iraq, sending its ambassador in Baghdad to a meeting last month with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in what Russian officials portrayed as an attempt to widen Russia's dialogue with various political forces. Analysts cast it as a Kremlin attempt to carve out an independent niche.
Tuesday, a Russian- and Chinese-led security grouping, the Shanghai Organization, for the United States and its coalition allies in Afghanistan to set a date for withdrawing from several states in Central Asia, reflecting growing unease at America's military presence in the region.
The Kremlin official, who declined to be identified in accordance with Kremlin press rules, also said the G-8 should work to make the political process in Iraq more inclusive, in line with the recommendations of last month's Brussels meeting on Iraq hosted by the European Union and the United States. Delegates there expressed support for the Iraqi government's efforts toward democratization amid friction between the Shiite Muslim majority and the once politically dominant Sunni Muslim minority.
A senior German government official said his delegation was prepared to discuss Germany's role in police training and "capacity-building" -- rebuilding Iraq's ministries.