G8 leaders push for transatlantic trade deal but it's stalemate over Syria

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G8 leaders push for transatlantic trade deal but it's stalemate over Syria

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Diplomatic ‘bons amis’ apart British Prime Minister David Cameron is discovering that hosting a G8 summit is a tough job.

Transatlantic trade and sorting out Syria have dominated the first day in Northern Ireland, but resulting in widely differing degrees of success.

The US and the European Union have however, agreed to launch talks on creating between them a free-trade zone.

“We’re talking about what could be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history, a deal that will have a greater impact than all the other trade deals on the table put together,” announced Prime Minister Cameron.

Trade between the two is worth 455 billion euros per annum but negotiations will not be easy with each side wanting to safeguard particular industries.

“Trade is critical, but it is not alone a silver bullet. It has to be part of a comprehensive strategy that we pursue on both sides of the Atlantic,” warned President Obama.

Later Cameron hosted a dinner where the situation in Syria was the main topic. The US, Britain and France are mulling over supplying military aid to the so-called moderate opposition.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin remains infuriated by this prospect and has vowed to press ahead with delivering arms to the Assad regime.

And there is still no set date for a Geneva peace conference.

“At the end of day one of this summit, Russia and its fellow G8 members remain miles apart on Syria. The US and its allies are insisting on a peaceful transition of power, while Moscow still refuses to drop its support for its longtime ally, President Assad. As the killing continues, the prospects for long-awaited peace talks in Geneva are looking very bleak indeed,” said euronews reporter James Franey.