While events in the Middle East have dominated the G8 summit of industrialised nations in St Petersburg, leaders today made progress on several pre-planned themes. Russia conceded to European Union demands to support, in principle, transparent and open energy markets although it refused to ratify the international rulebook known as the Energy Charter.
Aiming to unblock world trade talks, leaders agreed to give their negotiators a one month deadline to conclude the five-year-long Doha round. US President Bush backed away from public confrontation with his host President Putin over democracy in Russia.
But documents were approved on education and fighting infectious diseases. The G8 renewed its pledge to combat AIDS although it offered no detailed plan on funding its ambitious targets. Differences on the merits of promoting nuclear energy and on how to tackle climate change were papered over, although a joint statement does refer to “those of us committed to making the Kyoto protocol a success” – highlighting splits over the agreement which the United States has rejected.