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G8 Summit Adopts Sweeping Action Plan


Group of Eight leaders have adopted a wide-ranging plan of action to address world problems; including concern over Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs. But the ministers also found their attention diverted by events in the Middle East.

On the third and final day of the summit, ministers from the world's richest nations have adopted a final communiqué outlining a plan of action on issues including global energy security and the fight against global terrorism and AIDS. But the deteriorating and fast-moving situation in Israel and Lebanon definitely took center stage.

The non-binding G8 Statement on the Middle East, adopted by consensus, says the most important thing now is for all sides to take urgent measures to end military action.

The leaders of Russia, the United States, Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan also backed a decision to return concerns about Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. The ministers' communiqué warns Iran that failure to respond, or a negative reply, will cause the Security Council to resume work on an Iran resolution that could include punitive sanctions.

On North Korea, the ministers condemned the country's recent missile launches and urged Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programs. The G8 leaders also called for North Korea to resume the six-party talks that have been frozen since the beginning of this year.

The agreement to curb major infectious diseases, the third of the priority topics set by the G-8, calls for international cooperation in surveillance and monitoring, as well as intensifying scientific research and public awareness campaigns. It also urges improved access to prevention and treatment for those in need.

In a briefing with reporters, Summit Host President Vladimir Putin expressed satisfaction with the results of the summit.

"All the aims which we set have been reached. All the documents which we planned to adopt have been adopted, virtually without any changes," he said.

President Putin also said he had fulfilled his promise to allow participation by Russian civil society groups, who say their views are increasingly being silenced in today's Russia.

G8 ministers also agreed to strengthen cooperation against global terrorism and pledged to contain incidents of high-level government corruption.

Meanwhile, assistance to Africa, which topped last year's summit, was more or less sidelined this year, aside from a session attended by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the African Union. Secretary Annan says there has been progress since the 2005 G8 Summit in Scotland, but he adds that the task is still far from complete.

This year's summit did not see the same type of violence associated with street protests at past G8 meetings. Anti-globalization activists attribute that to, what they say, was heavy handed Russian security that relegated them to a stadium far from the summit site.

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