The two leaders met for the first
time since the US-led war in Iraq

Leaders from the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Canada, Russia and Japan agreed on the statement.

These weapons posed a "pre-eminent threat" to international security if they fell into the hands of what they described as militant groups, it said.

The official statement stressed however, that neither Iran nor North Korea was necessarily under threat of military action.

The G8 summit is being held in the French resort town of Evian. 

US President George W. Bush and his French counterpart Jacques Chirac patched up ties as they met on the sidelines of the summit on Monday, for the first time since Washington’s war against Iraq.

The war had severely strained ties between the two countries. France was one of the staunchest critics of the US-led war.

French officials said Chirac would travel this year to Washington, another sign their row was over.

'Difficult period'

Chirac and Bush praised one another after they met for their first one-on-one talks since the US led-invasion into Baghdad. Bush said they had both agreed to move forward on the issue of Iraq.

“We went through a difficult period,” said Bush, who left the summit for the Middle East ahead of talks with Palestinians and Israelis. “We can have disagreements but that doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable to each other,” he said.

Chirac offered Bush his “very sincere wishes for success” for Tuesday’s US-Arab summit in Egypt and Wednesday’s meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon.

Following their initial chilly handshake on Sunday, Chirac and Bush described Monday morning’s G8 session as “very positive”. 

A senior Bush administration official said the meeting between the two leaders was aimed at finding common ground.

Chirac avoided any mention of the US-French rift, which had cast a pall over the summit.

Washington and France found common ground on UN Security Resolution 1483, adopted last month, which lifted sanctions on Iraq and set up a framework for reconstruction.