TORONTO – The leaders of the world’s eight top industrial democracies on
Saturday welcomed Israel’s decision to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip but
called the current tensions in the Hamas-controlled territory “not
The countries – the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy,
Canada, Japan and Russia – said in a joint statement that “current arrangements
are not sustainable and must be changed.”RELATED:G8 and
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The statement was released at
the end of a meeting in Canada of the eight powers, and ahead of a
meeting of a
larger group of 20 nations, including China and India.
regret for the loss of life on the Mavi Marmara on May 31, the G-8 said
approved of Israel’s decision to set up an independent commission to
In addition, the G-8 asked all parties to abide by
Security Council Resolution 1860 to guarantee the stream of humanitarian
Gaza, calling for a change to existing policies.
government’s decision to ease the Gaza blockade, it urged “full and
implementation of this policy in order to address the needs of Gaza’s
for humanitarian and commercial goods, civilian reconstruction and
infrastructure, and legitimate economic activity.”
however, that Israel’s security concerns were legitimate and needed to
Reiterating its statement from the previous year, the
demanded the immediate release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, abducted
ago on the Gaza border.
Additionally, the G-8 called on all
implement UNSC resolution 1929 and expressed deep concern for Iran’s
transparency regarding its nuclear program and declared intention to
uranium to almost 20 percent.
“Our goal is to persuade Iran’s
engage in a transparent dialogue about its nuclear activities and to
international obligations,” the statement said.
The G-8 statement on Iran came on the heels of the US House of
vote for its own new and harsher sanctions against Teheran on
“After recent years of trying to work through the dual-track
approach, the countries have decided to take more stringent actions
despite hesitation from some, particularly Russia.
“It is not surprising
that the countries decided to specify their support for UNSC 1929
recent activities and discussion on these issues. It will be interesting
if these discussions are carried on to the G-20 in light of Brazil and
recent activity on this issue,” said Jenilee Guebert, director of
the G-8 Research Group at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the
During last year’s summit in L’Aquila, Italy, the G-8 urged Iran
to comply with existing UNSC resolutions and the IAEA with regard to its
program and emphasized their commitment to resolve the matter through
L’Aquila was also the first time the G-8 mentioned President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by name and condemned his declarations denying the
In March, G8 foreign ministers reiterated their support for
the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and
commitment to work toward the reduction of nuclear weapons and the
all nuclear weapons test explosions. The foreign ministers’ statement
G8’s past commitments to the NPT at the 2009 summit in L’Aquila, and in
Hokkaido, Japan, in 2008.
The leaders turned to foreign policy matters
after finding themselves at odds over how to continue to spur world
growth in the aftermath of the worst recession since the 1930s. The
were divided over whether to continue government stimulus spending, as
United States wants, or to cut mushrooming deficits, as Europe and Japan
On the March sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, the
leaders cited a report that found that the ship had been sunk by a North
The leaders said: “We condemn in this context the attack which
led to the sinking of the Cheonan.”
Japanese officials said that the
Russians were the only ones in the G-8 to resist tougher language
An official in the Russian delegation, who spoke on the
condition of anonymity because the leaders were meeting, said that
did not consider the results of the commission to be final and because
felt that condemning Pyongyang further could lead to negative
The G-8 communique, citing concerns they had raised at last
year’s summit in Italy, said, “We urge the government of Iran to respect
rule of law and freedom of expression as outlined in the international
to which Iran is a party.”
On Afghanistan, the statement said that a
conference in Kabul in July would be an important setting for assessing
in implementing commitments made in January to train more than 100,000
additional security forces by the end of next year.
The G-8 leaders said
it was important to accelerate efforts to make sure the country’s own
forces can “assume increasing responsibility within five years.”
contributed to this report.
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