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Top-level meetings ahead of G8 summit

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Top-level meetings ahead of G8 summit


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has held talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso on the eve of a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Moscow. It is understood they discussed the framework for a meeting between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the G8 summit next month in St Petersburg. “We are ready,” said Lavrov. “All the necessary paperwork has been done in preparation for next month’s meeting.”

Foreign ministers from Russia, Japan, the US, Canada, Germany, France and Italy are due in Moscow today for the one day meeting. Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Israel’s incursion into Gaza are likely to top the agenda. Iran has yet to reply to a package of incentives offered by six world powers aimed at ending a standoff over its nuclear plans.

Speaking while on a visit to Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said the international community could not wait forever for a response. The group of six – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany – want Iran to stop enriching uranium as a condition for further talks.

Iran says its programme is for domestic energy purposes but the West is fearful that atomic weapons could be developed.

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