Chicago to host G8, NATO summits in 2012

09:04, June 24, 2011      

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by Ted Regencia Chicago, the hometown of U.S. President Barack Obama, will welcome world leaders to this city by the lake as it will host the Group of Eight (G8) and NATO summits next year.

"Next May, in Chicago, we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition," Obama said Wednesday in a televised speech to the nation announcing the complete withdrawal of 100,000 American combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014.

The two events from May 15 to 22 will put Chicago on the international stage, as the world's most powerful nations meet together to discuss the future of Afghanistan, NATO and the Middle East among other global issues.

The news is a major boost to the third largest American city, which lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympics and has seen a decline in the number of tourists last year.

"This will be an opportunity to showcase what is great about the greatest city in the greatest country," new Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel told WLS Radio. Emanuel, who served as Obama's chief of staff before running for mayor, said the event is good for the city's economy.

Former ambassador J.D. Bindenagel told Xinhua that Obama's decision to hold the two summits here "is a recognition of the important global role that Chicago plays both in security issues and economic issues."

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