Back to: G8 Foreign Ministers' Meetings
1. G8 Foreign Ministers met in Whistler, June 12-13, to exchange views and coordinate action on a range of important global and regional issues. Discussions focused particularly on counterterrorism; Afghanistan; tensions between India and Pakistan; the conflict in the Middle East; Non-proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament (NACD), including weapons of mass destruction (WMD); and the Balkans. We recognized the need to go beyond simply responding to crises and to address the problems of governance and development that can give rise to them.
2. On September 19 last year, following the terrorist attacks in the United States, and at the initiative of the Italian Presidency, G8 Leaders asked their Ministers to develop concrete measures to fight terrorism. Yesterday, we issued a Progress Report on the Fight Against Terrorism outlining actions we have taken since September 11, 2001. These efforts have been coordinated with work by Ministers of Finance, of Interior and Justice. We rededicated ourselves to defending our values and freedoms by continuing the fight against terrorism, which we agreed will require constant vigilance and effort. We stressed the importance of increased cooperation among G8 states to prevent terrorist access to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. G8 members are also committed to assisting individual states or regions to build their capacity to fight terrorism, working closely with the United Nations and relevant regional organizations, and focusing on areas where the G8 can make a value-added contribution. In offering this assistance, we will coordinate our efforts to avoid duplication and ensure the best application of our expertise.
3. G8 Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in Afghanistan, on which we issued a separate statement yesterday. We expressed our strong support for the emergency Loya Jirga currently underway in Afghanistan, and offered our congratulations to Hamid Karzai for his election today in Kabul. We commend Chairman Karzai, his cabinet, and the Afghan people for the extraordinary progress they have made in the last months in rebuilding the Afghan state. The Loya Jirga is a vital step in the creation of a representative, inclusive and effective transitional authority and a critical step towards democratic elections due in 2004. We discussed the importance of responding to the needs identified by the Afghan authorities to build the governance structures essential for continued progress. In order to create the conditions for the provision of humanitarian relief and to enable longer term reconstruction efforts, the G8 has focused attention on security sector issues in Afghanistan. We have worked with the Afghan Interim Administration, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Lakhdar Brahimi, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to support efforts to demobilize and reintegrate former combatants, build a national army, create national and regional police forces, and to restore the justice sector. Particular attention has been given to addressing the challenges of opium production and trafficking in Afghanistan. We also recognized the importance of translating without delay the pledges made during the Tokyo Conference into concrete support to reinforce the positive transition in Afghanistan and to give hope to the Afghan people for a secure and stable future.
4. G8 Foreign Ministers discussed tensions between India and Pakistan and raised continuing concerns regarding the risk of conflict between these nuclear weapons capable nations, and the threat this would pose to regional and global security and stability. We stressed the need for a continued reduction of tensions and for political dialogue between the two parties. We reiterated our May 31 call for Pakistan to put a permanent stop to terrorist activity originating from territory under Pakistani control, and for both countries to continue to work with the international community to ensure that there will be a diplomatic solution to the current crisis. We are committed to continuing to work with India and Pakistan to deal with the fundamental problems underlying the current crisis and to sustaining coordinated diplomatic efforts in the region.
THE MIDDLE EAST
5. G8 Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in the Middle East and called for an immediate end to terrorism and violence. We reaffirmed the vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders. We underlined our commitment to work together, and with the parties involved, to sustain the conditions for peace, prosperity and economic rehabilitation, dignity and security in the region. G8 Foreign Ministers welcomed the Arab League initiative adopted at its Summit in Beirut and the intention of the United States to convene an international conference on the Middle East.
NON-PROLIFERATION, ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT (NACD)
6. G8 Foreign Ministers discussed the changed international security environment and the challenge to global stability and security posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We exchanged views on the international non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament agenda, and welcomed the recent agreement between the United States and Russia on reducing nuclear weapons. We agreed that these positive events provide an opportunity for progress in meeting other NACD challenges. In this regard, we reaffirmed the need to use all available instruments-from multilateral mechanisms and legally binding arrangements to export controls. With respect to plutonium dispositioning, we affirmed the importance of ensuring that excess military plutonium is rendered permanently unusable for nuclear weapons. Donors are working to complete negotiations for a multilateral framework for Russia's plutonium dispositioning program in 2003.
7. G8 Foreign Ministers noted the progress towards peace, stability, democracy, and regional cooperation in the Balkans designed to increase the capacity for effective governance. We expressed our continued support for a strong international presence in the region. We fully supported the benchmarks presented to the Security Council by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo. They will be important in fulfilling the objectives of Security Council Resolution 1244 and in building a democratic, multi-ethnic Kosovo.
8. We fulfilled our Rome commitments of last year to find new ways to contribute to the prevention of conflicts, and in this respect experts completed their work on the management of shared water resources and on Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration.
OTHER REGIONAL ISSUES
9. G8 Foreign Ministers welcomed the resumption of talks aimed at achieving a just, viable and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. We urged the two Cypriot leaders, and all others concerned, to intensify the effort to reach agreement and to bridge the remaining obstacles towards a lasting settlement. We welcomed the United Nations Secretary-General's recent visit to Cyprus and endorsed his hope that an agreement could be reached soon and that the United Nations should play a full role in facilitating this objective.
10. G8 Foreign Ministers agreed that efforts to reduce tension and establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula should be further encouraged. We reiterated our support for the Republic of Korea's policy of engagement. We recognized the need to continue to urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to respond constructively to international concerns over security, non-proliferation and humanitarian issues.
11. We agreed to meet next during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
Source: Canada. Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
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