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G8 summit concludes with aid pledge to Africa, concerns over regional security

2007-06-08

Chinese President Hu Jintao (1st L Front) poses for a group photo with leaders attending the outreach session of the Group of Eight summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, June 8, 2007. (Xinhua Photo/Ju Peng)

    HEILIGENDAMM, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized powers concluded their annual summit here on Friday with a pledge to deliver aid promises to Africa and concerns over regional security.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that aid promises made by the G8 nations to Africa will be delivered.

    "We are aware of our responsibilities and our obligations will be fulfilled," Merkel said during a meeting with African leaders at an outreach session of the G8 summit in the northern German Baltic resort.

    The G8 leaders agreed on an aid package of 60 billion U.S. dollars to fight AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other killer diseases in Africa.

    About 30 billion dollars from the aid package have been pledged by the United States, and Germany has also announced an offer of 4billion euros (5.5 billion dollars) to fight diseases in Africa.

    International activists, however, said they were disappointed by the inaction of the developed countries.

    Meanwhile, the G8 leaders urged Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    In a statement issued here at the conclusion of the three-day summit, the G8 said it is still committed to resolving the Iranian nuclear issue by diplomatic means.

    The G8 Leaders also voiced their support for the six-party talks through which the international community is making efforts to solve the nuclear issue on the Korea Peninsula

    The leaders urged the Sudanese government to accept an international peace mission designed to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region. They underlined that "there is no military solution" to the conflict in Darfur.

    The leaders also called for a prompt conclusion of the deadlocked Doha Round trade talks.

    We "call on all WTO members to demonstrate constructive flexibility to bring these negotiations to a prompt successful conclusion," the G8 leaders said in a statement.

    On Thursday, the G8 leaders sealed a compromise on climate change which Merkel described as a "real turning point."

    Merkel told reporters that the leaders have agreed to "substantially" cut greenhouse gases in the fight against climate change, which is a "great success."

    Still, environmental organization Green peace said it was disappointed by the G8 agreement.

    "This is too little," said Green peace, noting that the G8 leaders have finally failed to agree on binding targets.

    Germany, which holds the rotating G8 presidency, has called for actions to limit the rise in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius this century, which experts say requires a global reduction in emissions of 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

    However, the United States, the world's biggest greenhouse gas producer, had voiced "fundamental opposition" to mandatory targets, making climate change one of the most controversial issues during the upcoming G8 summit.

    Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday highlighted the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" in tackling climate change.

    "We should adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities established in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change," he told the outreach session between the G8 nations and five major developing countries.

    This principle, which recognizes differences among countries in the level of economic development, historical responsibility and current per capita emissions, forms the basis for maintaining and promoting future international cooperation, said Hu.

    "Climate change is an environmental issue, but it is, in essence, a development issue," he said, adding that it occurred in the course of development and should be resolved in the context of sustainable development.

    On another contentious issue concerning the U.S. plan of a missile defense system in Central Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise offer to his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush.

    Putin told Bush that Moscow would not oppose a U.S. plan of a radar-based missile defense system in Europe if it was deployed in Azerbaijan instead of Central Europe.

    According to U.S. National Security Adviser Steve Hadley, defense experts from the two sides will discuss the possibility of Putin's initiative.

    Putin said he was satisfied with talks with Bush and explained that an Azerbaijan-based U.S. missile defense shield would alleviate Russia's concerns about it, which would cover all of Europe rather part of it.

    Reports said that the two leaders also agreed to a strategic dialogue involving military and diplomacy.

    The meeting between the two on the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G8) summit was aimed to reduce high tension between the two sides over the U.S. plan of deploying the missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.

    Meanwhile, G8 leaders called for more efforts to adjust global imbalances in the world economy, although they appeared upbeat about the world economy.

    They also pledged to intensify anti-corruption efforts, both at the national and international levels, terming the fight against corruption as "one of the most important tasks of the G8."

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