G8 leaders skip naming North Korea for ship sinking

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By Nagesh Narayana | June 27, 2010 7:10 AM EST

The Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations on Saturday wrapped up their second-day of talks with much-awaited condemnation of South Korean ship sinking incident but resisted naming North Korea openly, apparently under pressure from Russia.

"The Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group, led by the Republic of Korea with the participation of foreign experts, concluded that the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (North Korea) was responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan. We condemn, in this context, the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan. We demand that the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea refrain from committing any attacks or threatening hostilities against the Republic of Korea," said the draft communique issued by G8 group of nations.

The group extended support to South Korea's move to take the issue to the UN Security Council to bring pressure on the North. Seoul alleges Pyongyang was responsible for the incident in which 46 sailors died in March. North Korea denied any role in the incident.

On Iran, the G8 group sought to renew focus on year-old protest in Teheran to the electoral outcome which the opposition in Iran says was manipulated. "We expect the government of Iran to respect the rule of law and freedom of expression as outlined in the international treaties to which Iran is a party," the draft communique of G8 countries said.

In view of the US plan to withdraw from Afghanistan, the G8 has asked Afghanistan to gear up for greater responsibility and restore security in the country, which hit headlines recently with huge mineral resources. The onus of protecting these resources from the rebel Taliban forces by strengthening the current government in Kabul is siphoned off in the communique with a cursory call on Kabul to handle security on its own by July.

On global recovery, the communique was rather elusive. "While the recovery consolidates, we are at a crossroads." it said. But the issue is figuring prominently in a simultaneous conference of leaders from the Group of 20 industrialized and emerging nations, who were credited with victory for stemming global recession in 2008 and setting the global economy back on its recovery path.

The G8 members -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States -- ended their summit on Saturday in Huntsville north of Ontario with no tangible results on geo-political tensions around the globe, apparently buttressed by Russia, which is reluctant to single out North Korea or Iran.

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