Syria to dominate G8 talks

2013-04-11 11:06
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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

London - US Secretary of State John Kerry and other G8 foreign ministers were on Thursday to hold a second day of talks in London focused on Syria after rebels again appealed for weapons.

The ministers kicked off their gathering over dinner late on Wednesday, shortly after Syrian opposition leaders met with Kerry about their repeated calls for arms to fight the Syrian regime forces.

But a top jihadist group's earlier pledge of loyalty to al-Qaeda deepened Western concerns that weapons could fall into the wrong hands in Syria.

Iran's atomic ambitions, rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, instability in north and west Africa, and climate change will also be up for discussion, according to Britain's Foreign Office.

The talks on Wednesday with members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition included its prime minister Ghassan Hitto.

The United States said it was mulling ways to step up help for Syria's rebels. Kerry held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a bid to find common ground with a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad on ending the conflict.

Talk 'productive'

However, overshadowing the discussions was a statement on Wednesday by the head of Syria's jihadist al-Nusra Front pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, which only increases Western doubts about arming the rebels.

A top State Department official confirmed that, during a lunch hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Syrian opposition leaders renewed appeals for lethal aid but Kerry "didn't promise anything".

Hague later called the talks "very productive" and stressed the Syrian coalition's executive arm "will have a vital role to play in delivering governance, services and support to the Syrian people".

The US and EU are currently providing non-lethal aid such as communications equipment, and are beginning to distribute food and medical supplies to the Free Syrian Army, but have stopped short of providing weaponry.

The announcement by the al-Nusra front is likely to bolster assertions by Assad's regime that it is fighting "terrorists" who want to impose an Islamic state.

"We are always considering a variety of options, we are going to continue to aid the opposition, working with them in terms of what they need, in terms of what we're willing to provide," the US official said.

Importance of co-operation

Wednesday's talks had focused on ways of changing Assad's calculations about the outcome of the conflict which is now in its third year and has cost about 70 000 lives, according to the United Nations.

"We need to have this continuing conversation which is why we are going back to Istanbul," the official said, referring to Kerry's plans to attend a Friends of Syria meeting on 20 April in the Turkish city.

All sides emphasised "the importance of working together, the importance of them getting themselves more organised, which they said they were in the process of doing", the official added.

Regarding the crisis on the Korean peninsula, Lavrov warned against heating it up with military manoeuvres, but stressed that Moscow and Washington had a common stand.

"On North Korea we have no differences with the United States," Lavrov told journalists in Russian as he met Kerry.

"One just shouldn't scare anyone with military manoeuvres and there's a chance that everything will calm down," he added, without specifying which countries he believed were carrying out such military exercises.

Concern over new facility

Kerry and Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida also met about the North Korea threat, according to a senior State Department official.

"They also discussed the special role China can play in exerting pressure on the North Korean leadership... and he [Kerry] emphasised the importance of continuing to put pressure on North Korea with economic sanctions," added the spokesperson.

On Iran - Syria's main ally in addition to Russia - the United States reacted with concern after Tehran this week unveiled a new uranium production facility and two extraction mines only days after talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear programme ended in deadlock.

"They have continued to move forward, we are very concerned about what they are doing," a senior State Department official said, asking to remain anonymous.

"We weren't blindsided about it, because we are rarely blindsided about the things that they are considering. But they did not specify that they were going to do this," the official said.

The Group of Eight rich nations are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. Britain, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the group this year, will host a leaders' summit in Northern Ireland in June.

- SAPA
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  al-nusra  |  g8  |  john kerry  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.