G-8 agrees to promote Syrian peace talks

2013-06-18 22:33
US President Barack Obama delivers a keynote address ahead of the G8 summit at Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Peter Morrison, AP)

US President Barack Obama delivers a keynote address ahead of the G8 summit at Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Peter Morrison, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Enniskillen - World leaders including the US and Russia declared on Tuesday that they are united in wanting a negotiated and peaceful end to the Syrian civil war that will produce a government "under a top leadership that inspires public confidence".

The declaration at the end of the two-day Group of Eight summit sought to narrow the ground between Syria government backer Russia and Western leaders on starting peace talks in Geneva that could end with the ouster of Bashar Assad from power.

It stopped short of demanding Assad's removal as leader, nor did it advance the possibility of sending US, British or French weapons to rebels, an option being kept open by all three G-8 members. Russia refused to back any declaration that made such Assad's removal from power an explicit goal.

And reflecting the profound divisions that remain after two days of talks, the British host, Prime Minister David Cameron, declared in response to reporters' questions that it was "unthinkable" that Assad could play any role in Syria's post-talks government.

"He has blood on his hands. He has used chemical weapons," Cameron said, a position rejected as unproven by the Russians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said arms supplies to the Syrian opposition would destabilise the situation even further.

"Any decisions to provide the opposition with weapons based on unconfirmed accusations against Damascus of using chemical weapons will only further destabilise the situation," Putin said at a news conference.

Significantly, the G-8 declaration said participants in any peace talks must agree to expel al-Qaeda-linked fighters from Syria. That measure reflects growing Western unease at the human rights abuses being committed in rebel-held areas, including civilian executions on Muslim extremist grounds.

The declaration condemned human rights abuses committed by government forces and rebels alike, and called on both sides to permit access by UN-led chemical weapons experts trying to investigate the contentious claims of chemical weapons use.

In its only concrete commitment, the plan commits a further $1.5bn in aid for Syrian refugees.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    bashar assad  |  david cameron  |  vladimir putin  |  russia  |  syria  |  us  |  syria conflict

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks more focused after Japan shock
Ireland recall Toner, Healy for France
LIVE: New Zealand v Tonga
Pumas, Namibia make 11 changes each
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal scenario...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.