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G8 Summit Ends


Leaders of the G8 group of industrial nations have ended three days of meetings in the German Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm with a compromise on global warming and renewed pledges for Africa. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from the summit.

For the past three days, this elegant seaside resort has hosted the leaders of some of the world's wealthiest nations. There have been formal working sessions, closed door bilateral meetings, informal chats in the garden, walks on the seaside pier and group photos.

Summit host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made climate change and helping Africa major themes of this meeting and in a final news conference she said progress was made.

Mrs. Merkel said it is important that all G8 members acknowledged the dangers of unchecked global warming and have committed themselves to devising a long-term strategy to remedy the problem within the United Nations.

Mrs. Merkel characterized the G8 climate statement as a successful compromise even though she failed to win U.S. support for including mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Some environmental activists say the compromise is too weak, still others call it a failure. The G8 leaders also renewed commitments to Africa through debt relief and other aid. And, there was a pledge for $60 billion to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Mrs. Merkel said that alone is not enough. She said the G8 must honor promises made in the past and deepen its commitment to help the African continent develop in the future. Some aid groups have welcomed the G8 pledges to fight AIDS. Others called them disappointing.

Rock star activist, Bono, who was also at the summit, accused the G8 of misleading people into thinking all the pledges would go to Africa, when instead he said the money is not earmarked specifically for Africa and would be spread globally.

Bono said the G8 used "bureaubabble" to hide its failure to help Africa.

"It's a maze, this labyrinthine language is a maze that's deliberate," he said. "We're supposed to get lost in this maze, but we are not lost, they are lost. The G8 are lost."

In a final statement, the G8 also expressed support for continued efforts for a Middle East peace settlement and for pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program.

Mrs. Merkel said Iran should reconsider its actions. The G8 warned that its members will support further measures against Iran if Tehran continues to defy U.N. resolutions to halt its uranium enrichment activity and related programs.

On the issue of Darfur, G8 leaders called for those violating human rights to be brought to justice. They also said the G8 would support "appropriate action" in the Security Council, if the government of Sudan or rebel groups continue to fail to meet their obligations.

Joining Mrs. Merkel in Heiligendamm were the leaders of France, Italy, Britain, Russia, Canada, the United States and Japan.

This was the first summit for the newly elected French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the last for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who steps down June 27.

President Bush missed some of Friday morning's meetings due to an upset stomach. He later rejoined the group and was present for the final group photo, before leaving the summit on Air Force One.

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