The United Kingdom has the presidency of G8 this year. Eight foreign ministers and an EU representative have the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues on April 10-11. This is a preparatory meeting for the main G8 summit that will be held in June in Northern Ireland.
G8 Foreign Minsters’ Meeting has an agenda including prevention of sexual violence at the time of conflict, partnership with Arab countries in transition, the situation in Burma and Somalia. Even if the North Korean threats and the Syrian crisis are not in the official agenda, they will be the two major preoccupations for the top diplomats.
The main question is how effective could such meetings be in achieving any real results in a world where opinion is very much divided.
The Japanese foreign minister will, no doubt, have the harsh rhetoric of his neighbouring North Korea in his mind. Russian minister Sergey Lavrov has said there is no divide with the United States when it comes to a stance on North Korea. It remains to be seen if that will alleviate Japan’s concerns.
Syria remains, however, the main divisive issue. A US official said there are no signs of a change in Moscow’s position and the radicalisation of some elements of the divided opposition have tempered the enthusiasm of some western nations to support the rebels militarily.
Human Rights Watch has released a video to coincide the meeting. Death from the Sky accuses the Syrian Air Force of deliberately targeting civilians.
Members of the Syrian opposition were on the fringes of the meeting ready to talk with those nations who wish to speak to them. US Secretary of State, John Kerry will attend the meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria in Istanbul on April 20.
Ria Novosti, Russia’s state news agency, has reported Lavrov as saying: “We have long been trying to calm the situation [in Syria]. But as soon as the slightest glimmer of hope appears… someone immediately does everything possible to frustrate the hope. There will be no winner.”