Talks in Berlin between the G8 Foreign Ministers have ended on a more negative than positive note. The aim of the talks, one week ahead of the actual G8 summit, was to try to reach consensus on various issues. On Iran they did see eye to eye, but as ministers emerged it was obvious Russia’s relations with the West had dominated other matters.
Kosovo was one sticking point, Russia still strongly opposed to independence. “We agree that the problem of Kosovo’s status can’t be resolved to please everyone,” said a seemingly deflated German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “It will have to be a compromise.”
But Russia is clearly not disposed to compromise, still bristling at Condoleeza Rice calling its opposition to the anti-missile shield “ridiculous”. Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, said the US plans were well advanced and a very serious matter. “We are not being at all ridiculous,” he said. “The US is kick-starting the arms race.”
Hostilities inside the meeting room were echoed outside on the streets. The German police had expected trouble from anti-globalisation protestors flooding into the country in preparation for next weeks summit, with today a good opportunity for a dress rehearsal.
There were scuffles outside the Potsdam venue for the Foreign Minister’s talks involving hundreds of protestors, broken up by the authorities.