G8 backs urgent Syria peace talks in Geneva

G8 backs urgent Syria peace talks in Geneva
Tue Jun 18, 2013 22:29:51

G8 leaders have called for Syria peace talks to be held in Geneva "as soon as possible".

The G8 leaders agreed on a joint statement on Syria, on Tuesday, after lengthy discussions at the end their two-day summit.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the leaders had managed "to overcome fundamental differences".

The seven-point document says that any future transitional government should be "formed by mutual consent".

It stresses that the leaders are united in wanting a negotiated and peaceful end to the conflict that will produce a government "under a top leadership that inspires public confidence."

However hopes for talks were dimmed following Syrian opposition uncooperative stances towards the talks, with setting illogical preconditions for the talks.

In their latest remarks on the negotiations the so-called National Coalition which represents the opposition said they will not talk unless they receive heavy arms from their supporters so that they can compensate they losses in the war.

The remarks were widely criticized as they undermined the whole point of the talks which are aimed at putting an end to the bloodshed before more lives are lost.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that, “We categorically oppose ... affirmations that the (Geneva 2) conference should become a kind of public act of capitulation by the government delegation, with the subsequent handover of power in Syria to the opposition.”

The G8 leaders’ joint statement also condemns "any use of chemical weapons in Syria" and urges both sides at the Geneva conference "to commit to destroying and expelling from Syria all organizations and individuals affiliated to al-Qaeda and any other non-state actors linked to terrorism".

On the humanitarian front, the G8 leaders agreed to provide nearly $1.5bn (£960m) in new funds to help people affected by the raging conflict.

More than 4.25 million people have been displaced since the foreign-backed insurgency began in March 2011 in Syria.

More than 90,000 people have been killed, according to UN estimates.

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