G-8 ministers clash over Kosovo

30th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

30 May 2007, Potsdam, Germany (dpa) - Ministers of the world's key industrial nations voiced concern over the Middle East and clashed over Kosovo during talks Wednesday to prepare for next week's G8 summit. Delegation sources said the foreign ministers called on the Palestinian leadership to take steps to halt internecine violence in the Gaza Strip and end missile attacks against Israeli towns. "We have to stop the spiral of violence," host Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told his counterparts fro

30 May 2007

Potsdam, Germany (dpa) - Ministers of the world's key industrial nations voiced concern over the Middle East and clashed over Kosovo during talks Wednesday to prepare for next week's G8 summit.

Delegation sources said the foreign ministers called on the Palestinian leadership to take steps to halt internecine violence in the Gaza Strip and end missile attacks against Israeli towns.

"We have to stop the spiral of violence," host Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told his counterparts from France, Britain, Italy, Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected an appeal from Steinmeier for the Kremlin to drop its opposition to UN plans on the status of the breakaway Serb province of Kosovo.

"The fate of Serbia, the fate of Kosovo should not be decided in New York or Potsdam ... but in direct negotiations between the two parties involved," Lavrov said.

Russia objects to UN Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari's proposal for internationally supervised independence for Kosovo, a move backed by the US and most EU countries but rejected by Serbia.

The day-long meeting was designed to fine-tune the political agenda for the Group of Eight summit hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm from June 6-8.

It took place in the Cecilienhof hotel, where the World War II victors held the Potsdam Conference to discuss the administration of defeated Germany and postwar peace arrangements for Europe.

The United States was represented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said she hoped to gain support for UN resolutions on Iran's nuclear programme and the ongoing conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri and his Afghan counterpart Rangeen Dadfar Spanta joined the ministers to discuss ways to improve cooperation in the fight against the Taliban.

"It is vital for the stability of the region that Pakistan and Afghanistan begin to cooperate on border security," said Steinmeier, who visited the two neighbouring countries 10 days ago.

The remote border areas of north and west Pakistan are considered safe havens for remnants of the ousted Taliban government seeking to regain control of Afghanistan.

Hundreds of police were on duty to protect the gathering, following plans by a local anti-globalization group to stage an anti-G8 protest.

Following the Potsdam talks, Rice, Steinmeier and Lavrov were to travel to Berlin for an evening meeting of the Mideast Quartet, the international group mediating in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

DPA

Subject: German news

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