Accessibility links

Breaking News

Syria Leads G8 Talks Agenda

Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons in Sidi Meqdad area in the suburbs of Damascus, April 10, 2013, in this photo provided by Shaam News Network.
Britain and France are expected to continue their push to arm the Syrian opposition in its civil war against President Bashar al-Assad when G8 foreign ministers gather for talks Wednesday in London, but there are no signs of a major policy shift.

North Korea's threats of war will also be high on the agenda of the meeting, a preliminary gathering ahead of the annual Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland.

Members of Syria's civilian opposition are also in London, and are due to meet with some of the ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his British and French counterparts.

Britain and France have advocated amending or lifting a European Union arms embargo on Syria to support the rebels. Russia and Germany oppose such a move, arguing it could allow weapons to fall into the hands of Islamist militants and fuel a regional conflict.

The foreign ministers will also discuss how to respond to North Korea, which has been threatening to attack the United States and South Korea and on Tuesday warned foreigners to evacuate the South to avoid being caught in a war.

The Group of Eight also plans to consider how to move forward from last week's failed talks on curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the ministers would also discuss Burma, Somalia, cyber security and how to prevent sexual violence in war zones.