G8 Foreign Ministers Meetings

G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting:
UK Chairman's Statement

Lancaster House, London, June 23, 2005

See also:
• Chairman's Statement, June 23, 2005 [English] [Français]
• Statement on Afghanistan, June 23, 2005 [English] [Français]
Transcript of news conference, June 23, 2005
Interview of Jack Straw and Abdullah Abdullah of Afghanistan, June 23, 2005
Interview of Jack Straw and Jim Wolfensohn, June 23, 2005

G8 Foreign Ministers met in London on 23 June to discuss a range of global and regional issues. The meeting focussed on the situation in Afghanistan on which we have issued a separate statement the Middle East and Iran. We also exchanged views on UN Reform, international trade in arms, and developments in the Western Balkans, Sudan, North Korea, Iraq, Lebanon, Zimbabwe and Haiti.

The Middle East
We discussed the situation in the Middle East and welcomed the work of James Wolfensohn, the Quartet's Special Envoy on Gaza Disengagement and US Security Coordinator General Ward. Mr Wolfensohn briefed us on his work so far and on how we might maximise the opportunity presented by Israel's planned disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank. In particular, he outlined specific proposals to support Palestinian reform and institution building and to ensure effective channelling of donor assistance. We urge Israel and the Palestinian Authority to co-ordinate with him and with each other on their planning for the withdrawals. We are all clear that Gaza disengagement must be a success.

We underlined our commitment to working with the parties and the international community, through the Roadmap, towards the goal of two viable states living side by side in peace and security. We call on the Palestinian Authority to press ahead with the reform agenda, in particular to deliver on their security commitments under the Roadmap. We urge Israel to meet its Roadmap commitments, particularly on settlements. We affirmed G8 support for a negotiated solution to the Middle East conflict in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Iran
Foreign Ministers underlined the G8's full support for the work of France, Germany and the UK, together with the EU High Representative, to negotiate long term arrangements for Iran's nuclear programme that provide objective guarantees that Iran's programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes. We agreed that for the process to continue, and to build confidence, it is essential that Iran adheres to the Paris Agreement and keeps all fuel cycle activities fully suspended.

Concerns were expressed about Iran's ballistic missile programme, and its attitude towards terrorism and the Middle East Peace Process.

We reaffirmed our commitment to the work being undertaken to improve respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Iran. In that regard, concerns were expressed by some G8 members about the preparations for and conduct of the Presidential elections in Iran.

Western Balkans
Foreign Ministers welcomed the United Nations Secretary-General's appointment of Mr Kai Eide to conduct a comprehensive review of progress on standards in Kosovo. Provided the outcome of the review is sufficiently positive, this will lead to the establishment of a political process to determine Kosovo's final status, led by the United Nations, in accordance with Security Council Resolutions.

In the light of the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre on 11 July, we called on all the parties to promote reconciliation and uphold the Dayton/Paris accords. Transferring to The Hague the remaining indictees, notably Karadzic, Mladic and Gotovina, would be the best tribute to the Srebrenica victims and a major stride towards a permanent peace in the Balkans.

UN Reform
We discussed the forthcoming Millennium Review Summit in September. This offers a unique opportunity to strengthen the UN and make it more effective, bringing together proposals on the inter-linked challenges of development, security and human rights, as well as administrative reform. We underlined our collective commitment to work for a balanced Summit outcome, including agreement on measures to deliver much faster progress towards the Millennium Development Goals; reform of the UN's human rights machinery; and the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission to assist countries emerging from conflict in making the transition to lasting peace and sustainable development. We also agreed on the need for an enlarged and more representative Security Council that was able to address effectively the challenges of the 21st Century.

International Trade in Conventional Arms
We discussed our common concerns about the proliferation of conventional arms in areas of conflict and instability. The UK elaborated on its proposal for an Arms Trade Treaty.

We agreed that developing a common understanding of governments' responsibilities would be an important step in tackling the undesirable proliferation of conventional arms. We agreed on the need for further work to build a consensus for action, taking full account of other relevant initiatives.

Sudan
We discussed the serious human rights and humanitarian crisis in Darfur and call on the parties to the conflict to stop the fighting, abide by all their commitments, including the protection of civilians, and reach an early political settlement. We welcome the work of the African Union Mission in Sudan: where the troops are deployed, they are having a positive impact. Expansion of the force will help stabilise the situation, and we stand ready to do what we can to support this. We agreed on the importance of coordinating our efforts and continuing to build African Union capacity in order to reach a lasting solution in Darfur.

All those responsible for the massive violations of human rights in Sudan should be prosecuted and brought to justice in accordance with UNSCRs 1591 and 1593.

We will continue to support the humanitarian effort in Darfur and across Sudan. More will be needed through this year. But only a political solution can create long-term peace and security for Darfur. We welcome the resumption of the AU Peace Talks in Abuja. Full and timely implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, is vital in order to pave the way for a democratic and inclusive system of governance, including in Darfur.

North Korea
We discussed North Korea's record of WMD-related activities. This remains of profound concern to us all. We urge North Korea to return promptly to the Six Party Talks in order to continue discussions on a comprehensive solution, including the verifiable dismantlement of its nuclear weapons-related programmes.

We also discussed other security issues and human rights abuses in North Korea, including abductions. We urge the North Korean authorities to take prompt steps to address these concerns.

Iraq
We welcomed the results of yesterday's International Conference on Iraq which demonstrated the strength of the international community's support for the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Transitional Government in their efforts to complete the political process free of foreign interference, rebuild their country, and bring an end to terrorist attacks. We call on Iraq's neighbours to contribute to a secure and stable environment in Iraq. We also reiterate our support for the Sharm El-Sheikh process. We welcome the decision to establish a donor coordination mechanism in Baghdad and look forward to follow up work to deliver effective international support to Iraq's reconstruction.

Lebanon/Syria
We discussed progress against UNSCR 1559 and 1595. We welcomed the work of the UNSG's Special Representative Terje Roed Larsen in ensuring the implementation of these resolutions. Following the holding of peaceful elections, we encourage the new Lebanese Government to comply with both resolutions, consolidate the establishment of democracy and take action to strengthen the Lebanese economy. We deplore the series of political assassinations that have taken place. We call on Lebanon's neighbours, in particular Syria, to co-operate in ensuring full compliance with the UNSCRs and to contribute actively to regional security and stability.

Zimbabwe
We discussed the current situation in Zimbabwe, and the ongoing police operations, which have reportedly left thousands of the most vulnerable homeless and destitute. We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to abide by the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Haiti
We discussed Haiti and expressed concern about the deteriorating security environment in view of elections later this year. We expressed support for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) under its renewed and strengthened mandate and agreed that long-term international commitment is required.

Source: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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