G8 foreign ministers have managed to find common ground on the situation in Iran. The joint statement says the G8 regrets the actions by Iranian authorities after the presidential election, which killed civilians.
The ministers are calling on Tehran to observe fundamental human rights. They have gathered in Trieste, Italy to work out the agenda of the upcoming leaders’ summit in L'Aquila in July.
The Islamic republic announced it would boycott the summit.
Speaking at the beginning of the meeting, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the G8 was working on “a good document that would include condemnation…but at the same time one that will recognise that electoral procedures are an Iranian question.”
The document appeared to be a compromise between states that intended to send a tough message to Tehran over the violence that followed the disputed reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and those who were insisting on a dialogue. The latter include Moscow.
On Thursday, commenting on the Iranian issue, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:
“We are certain that all questions concerning the latest elections in Iran must be settled on the basis of Iranian laws and in compliance with the procedures those rules establish.”
“As far as I understand, this is precisely what is going on there.”
“Naturally, we urge one and all to refrain from any actions that might create problems, in the first place those permitting violence that puts people's lives at risk,” Lavrov said.
Non-proliferation on the agenda
G8 foreign ministers have welcomed a Russian-American initiative on nuclear non-proliferation, a joint statement says.
Lavrov said Moscow will be coming to L'Aquila in July with several proposals.
“Russia hopes that during the summit some concrete discussion will take place on how to strengthen international security and stability,” he said.
Lavrov said Russia believes “it is necessary to strengthen the role of the UN in all possible ways and regional organizations cooperating with the UN.”
As for energy security, the minister went on, “President Medvedev has presented new suggestions to the world community on how to work out new international laws of energy cooperation in all spheres and including all affected – the producers, the consumers and the transit countries.”
Such worrying issues for international society as the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran were also discussed today by the top diplomats. As for Tehran’s nuclear plans, Lavrov has once again called on the international community to be patient.
The summit participants condemned North Korea over its nuclear tests, but urged the situation to be resolved in a peaceful manner.
Middle East peace process
Lavrov is also taking part in a meeting of the Middle East Quartet, which is being held on Friday on the sidelines of the G8 meeting. The talks are aimed at restarting the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
Russia supports the Arab point of view, saying Israel should leave territories it occupied after the1967 war, and lift its blockade on the Gaza strip.
President Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit to Egypt on June 23, whilst addressing the League of Arab States, also spoke of a need to find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We understand that resolving the Palestinian conflict and halting the occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands are key to the overall normalization of the situation in the Middle East,” he said.
“The resolution,” he continued, “must include the creation of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state with the capital in East Jerusalem, which will coexist peacefully with all the countries in the region, including Israel.”
Ahead of Obama’s visit to Russia
In Trieste, the Russian Foreign Minister met with US Under Secretary of State William Burns. The two discussed the course of preparation for President Obama’s upcoming visit to Moscow as well as Russian-American bilateral relations and international issues.
The US President is expected to visit Moscow from July 6-8.
The foreign ministers of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey are taking part in the three-day meeting in Northern Italy.
After the G8 summit Lavrov will move on to the Greek island of Corfu for an informal summit of the foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and an unofficial meeting of the Russia-NATO Council. The meetings will take place on June 27. These will be the first talks on such a high level after the conflict in the Caucasus in August last year.