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G8 Foreign Ministers to Discuss Japan Disaster, Libya Crisis

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is greeted by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy upon her arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, March 14, 2011
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is greeted by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy upon her arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, March 14, 2011

The disaster in Japan and the crisis in Libya are expected to dominate talks by G8 foreign ministers that begin in Paris on Monday.  

Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations are gathering in Paris for the start of a two-day meeting later Monday.  

Topping the agenda is Japan, which is reeling from a massive earthquake and tsunami and battling a possible nuclear meltdown.  The foreign ministers are expected to discuss ways to coordinate aid and rescue efforts on behalf of fellow G8 member Japan.

Also up for discussion is how to respond to the crisis in Libya, following the Arab League's backing of a no-fly zone.  President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, which heads the G8 and the Group of 20 major economies this year, will reportedly use the meeting to push for a consensus supporting a no-fly zone.

Mr. Sarkozy outlined his position on Friday during a European Union summit in Brussels.

Mr. Sarkozy said while France does not back a military option on the ground, it does support a no-fly zone.  He has also raised the possibility of targeted strikes in Libya if the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi aim at the population.

Speaking to BBC radio on Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the international community is closing in on a decision about military intervention against Libya -- with a no-fly zone one of the leading propositions.

The United States is taking part in planning for a potential no-fly zone, but has said it wants a clear legal mandate before taking any action.

Several other leading countries have expressed reservations about a no-fly zone, including China and G8 member Russia.

The G8 talks, which end Tuesday, will also include Iran's nuclear program and ways to revive the Middle East peace process.

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