World leaders have ended their Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg an event overshadowed by violence in the Middle East. The leaders told Hezbollah it should free abducted Israeli soldiers and end attacks on Israel. They also called on Israel to exercise restraint, a plea to which United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan added his voice.
He said: “I have appealed to all concerned to spare civilian lives and spare civilian infrastructure because these are things a civilian population will need for their livelihood, for their daily activities and we should not inflict any more suffering.”
Annan said the UN Security Council will now work out a detailed agreement on deploying an international security force to monitor Lebanon’s border with Israel. However Israel responded that it is too early to talk about an observer force.
As well as focusing on events in the Middle East, the G8 leaders did seem to make some slight progress toward a breakthrough on long stalled global trade talks. They have set a one month deadline to work out a deal over sticking points such as US farm subsidies and European Union tariffs on agricultural products.