G8 nears Syria compromise
Final communiqu� not released yet Putin opposes anti-Assad stance Convergence on tackling tax evasion Enniskillen (AFP): World leaders...
- Final communiqu� not released yet
- Putin opposes anti-Assad stance
- Convergence on tackling tax evasion
Enniskillen (AFP): World leaders meeting here are said to have reached hard-won agreement on a plan to move toward a transitional government in Syria. However, the final communique was unclear on how that would be achieved. There was no mention of the future of embattled Syrian strongman Bashar Assad in the final G8communique, according to The Associated Press.
But getting Russia's Vladimir Putin, the lone ally in the G8 of Assad, to agree to a plan for a transitional government in Syria may be seen as an accomplishment. Putin has objected strongly to efforts to rein in Assad's armed forces. But after a tense one-on-one meeting with United States President Barack Obama on Monday, Putin affirmed Russia's commitment to help the US set up peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending two years of Syrian strife. The fighting has led to the death of 90,000 people and is threatening to explode into a wider conflict in the Middle East.
A draft of the communique obtained by AFP left blank a section devoted to Syria, indicating that talks were going down to the wire. Putin and US President Barack Obama made no attempt to conceal their differences after icy face-to-face talks at the Lough Erne golf resort on Monday.
"Of course our opinions do not converge, but all of us have the intention to stop the violence in Syria," said Putin, while Obama admitted the two men had "different perspectives" on the brutal conflict. British officials had suggested late on Monday that the rest of the G8 could leave Putin out in the cold and press ahead with issuing a statement on Syria without Russia, but a night of haggling by officials appeared to have reached a form of agreement.
But issues such as arms were largely left off the table, the officials said. Chemical weapons were also likely to be a sticking point. The United States, Britain and France all say they have evidence that Assad's forces have used nerve gas against the Syrian rebels but Russia says there is no proof.
Cameron was also driving forward an initiative to fight tax evasion, banking secrecy and to increase the transparency of multinational companies. The draft communique said the G8 nations had agreed to publish national action plans "to make information on who really owns and profits from companies and trusts available to tax collection and law enforcement agencies." The leaders also look likely to commit to work with the OECD on the issue.