G8 foreign ministers to meet in Moscow
MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations will gather in Moscow Thursday to discuss key international issues and preparations for the organization's summit next month in St. Petersburg.
The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain, and the United States will discuss ways to combat international terrorism and how to stop terrorists from obtaining access to weapons of mass destruction, and will also meet with President Vladimir Putin.
EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Iran's controversial nuclear program would be a key issue on the agenda of the ministerial meeting. She said the EU expected Iran, which is suspected of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program, to respond to a package of incentives drafted by the Iran-6 - the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany - to get the Islamic Republic to halt uranium enrichment.
The proposals were delivered to Tehran June 6 by EU foreign policy supremo Javier Solana, who plans to head back to Tehran in early July for further talks on the proposals.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday Russia still favored the idea of internationally monitored access to nuclear technology.
"We are working on the idea of setting up an international center that would offer nuclear cycle services," he said.
Ferrero-Waldner also said G8 foreign ministers would discuss financial aid to the Palestinians. Other issues on the meeting's agenda will be the situation in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Korean peninsula, as well as measures against illegal drug trafficking.
Lavrov said the ministerial meeting also gave an opportunity to discuss conflicts in the former Soviet Union, and added that it would "reload" the agenda for the July 15-17 summit in St. Petersburg.
Moscow hosted an extended ministerial conference ahead of the foreign ministers' meeting with representatives of 50 countries to discuss the fight against drug trafficking from Afghanistan, the world's leading drug producer.