News / Americas

    Leaders Wrap Up G8 Summit; Look Ahead to G20

    Members of G8 condemn North Korea for sinking of South Korean navy ship, call on Iran to respect human rights

    The Group of Eight leading industrial nations have condemned North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean navy ship and have called on Iran to respect human rights.

    The leaders issued a draft statement as they concluded the G-8 summit at a resort in Muskoka (Canada), north of Toronto, Canada.

    Regarding the sinking of South Korean ship, the group condemned the attack that led to the sinking of the South Korean ship, the Cheonan, earlier this year.  

    The group also repeated its call for Iran's leaders to do more to respect freedom of expression and the rule of law.

    Members of the Group of Eight met privately Saturday before expanding their session to include leaders of the world's top developing economies later Saturday.

    The G20 sessions later in the day will take place in Toronto.

    U.S. officials say the big economic powers are coming closer to consensus on how to prevent the global economy from falling back into recession.  

    U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were among leaders at the Muskoka talks, hosted by Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    Mr. Obama has been urging other countries to stimulate economic growth, while European leaders, led by Germany, have put the focus on fiscal responsibility and spending cuts.  

    Mr. Obama and others say they are concerned that cutting spending too drastically could stifle economic growth.

    Chancellor Merkel has denied reports of conflict over economic policy.  She said the G8 discussions were based on mutual understanding, without controversy.

    Officials say security issues, including concerns about Iran and North Korea, were expected to play a large part in Saturday's talks.

    Mr. Obama is scheduled to hold one-on-one meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chinese President Hu Jintao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, among others.

    The countries in the G20 account for 90 percent of global economic output and 80 percent of world trade.  In addition to the G8 nations - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia - the larger G20 includes Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the European Union.

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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