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G8 summit dominated by Middle East violence

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G8 summit dominated by Middle East violence


The G8 summit in St Petersburg has ended with world leaders having been mostly focused on the violence in the Middle East. The leaders told Hezbollah it should free abducted Israeli soldiers and end attacks on Israel and called on Israel to exercise restraint. Presidents Bush and Putin also expressed concern at Iran’s failure to respond to incentives aimed at ending its nuclear programme.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said everyone should be restrained in Lebanon.
“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,” he said.

Annan, after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said that “as a matter of urgency” he would push ahead with a plan for a new international military force to be deployed in southern Lebanon to monitor the border area.

However Israel responded that it is too early to talk about an observer force. Events in the Middle East have overshadowed the original summit agenda including how to restart stalled world trade talks and the economic effects of high oil prices. Following the summit, G8 trade negotiators and WTO chief Pascal Lamy are to meet to try to reach a deal on the Doha round of trade talks.

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