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G8 Ministers Condemn Actions of Iran, North Korea


Foreign ministers from the Group of 8 industrialized nations deplored the post-election violence in Iran. They called on Tehran to resolve the crisis over the disputed poll through democratic dialogue. The ministers also condemned North Korea's missile tests.

G8 foreign ministers meeting in the northern Italian port city of Trieste urged Iran to respect fundamental rights, including freedom of expression. Deploring the violence which followed the June 12 presidential election, the ministers urged the Iranian government to guarantee that the will of the Iranian people is reflected in the electoral process.

Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said the ministers expressed serious concern about the events of recent weeks.

Frattini said they stressed the need for an immediate end to the violence and expressed solidarity to the victims. They also urged the Iranian authorities to find a peaceful solution to the present crisis.

Britain's minister for foreign affairs, David Miliband, said the Iranian people have a right to choose their government but the Iranian government must protect its people. He added that the violence, killings and beatings of the last ten days are deplorable and show a failure to protect the Iranian people.

"Today there is a crisis of credibility, not between Iran and the West but between the Iranian counting of the votes and the Iranian people," he said. "The idea that the protestors on the streets of Iran are motivated or mobilized or organized by foreign powers is completely without foundation."

In addition to Iran, ministers discussed five other issues: non-proliferation, piracy, Africa and its regional crises, North Korea and the Middle East.

On North Korea, they condemned Pyongyang's missile tests and urged the country to return to the negotiating table and take part in the six-nation disarmament talks.

On the Middle East, the Italian Foreign Minister Frattini said there was agreement by the G8 nations and outlined their solution.

Frattini said that two states and two people as a final solution with the creation of a climate of faith for negotiations through the freezing of Israeli settlements and the cessation of violence and thus security for Israel. For the Palestinians, Frattini added, the need to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip and West Bank.

Ministers from Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as other nations and organizations, were to hold discussions with the G8 ministers on a regional approach to the Afghan conflict. Delegates were to look at border management and illicit trafficking. Italy had originally invited Iran to attend the Trieste meeting as a special guest, arguing that it could play an important role in talks on Afghan stabilization. But following the violence, it retracted that invitation.

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