G8 nations agree on key issues

Foreign ministers from the world's leading industrialised nations have reached agreement on far-reaching issues, from Afghanistan's narcotic production to Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territories.

    The daylong summit took place in London on Thursday

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted Israel's disengagement from Gaza must be peaceful and urged Middle Eastern countries not to turn a blind eye to terrorism.


    The Group of Eight nations urged North Korea to resume dialogue on its nuclear programme, called on Iran not to resume its uranium enrichment activities, and condemned human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and the western Sudanese region of Darfur.


    Less than two months from Israel's withdrawal from all 21 Jewish settlements on the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank, the Middle East peace process dominated much of the daylong summit in London on Thursday.


    Rice, in London after a tour of the region, called on the Palestinian Authority to rein in fighters.


    Rice meetings


    The G8 meeting insisted that the
    Gaza pullback must be peaceful

    Earlier on Thursday, Rice met top officials from Russia, the European Union and the United Nations to discuss the "road map" to peace in the Middle East.


    The so-called Quartet said in a statement that the Gaza withdrawal should revitalise the road map peace process and encouraged the two sides to "move closer to the goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security".


    Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah joined the G8 talks, which discussed how to stem the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan.


    The country last year supplied more than 90% of the world's opium, the raw material for heroin, sparking warnings that the country was turning into a narco-state just three years after the fall of the Taliban.


    Six-party talks


    The G8 ministers urged North Korea to resume six-party disarmament talks with South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.


    The close of summit statement also fully supported diplomatic efforts led by Britain, France and Germany to persuade Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment activities.


    Those responsible for "massive violations of human rights in Sudan should be prosecuted and brought to justice"

    Closing statement,
    G8 foreign ministers summit

    Some of the strongest words were reserved for Zimbabwe, where thousands of people have been forced from their homes in what President Robert Mugabe says is an urban cleanup operation.


    Mugabe's political opponents say the month-long campaign is meant to punish its supporters for voting against the ruling party in recent parliamentary elections.


    Rice called on the African Union to speak out "against these outrages".


    The closing statement said those responsible for "massive violations of human rights in Sudan should be prosecuted and brought to justice".


    Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million others have been displaced from their homes since fighting broke out between government forces and rebel factions in Darfur more than two years ago.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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