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Minister Rupel attends second day of the G8 meeting

Source: Ministrry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

The main topics of the second and final day of the G8 foreign ministers’ meeting in Kyoto today were Korea, Iran, the Middle East Peace Process, Sudan and Zimbabwe. The meeting is being attended by the foreign ministers of Japan, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada, and the deputy foreign minister of Russia. As usual, an EU delegation also takes part as an observer, this time headed by the President of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel.


The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)

As regards North Korea, the G8 foreign ministers agreed that a denuclearised Korean peninsula should be achieved immediately and that monitoring at the international level should be provided. The Korean authorities were called to respect the UN Security Council resolutions and to give up nuclear weapons, as well as the existing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. The foreign ministers welcomed the North Korean declaration within the framework of the six-party talks; however, they underlined that its content still needs to be thoroughly studied. They agreed that it is necessary to carry out the joint statement of 2005, whereby North Korea was to entirely abandon all its nuclear programmes. North Korea was also urged to resolve its security and humanitarian issues.

As to the situation in the DPRK, Minister Rupel said that the process at the end of the 20th century in the countries that had been under communist regimes proved that economic and political commitment to overcoming the situation were more effective than isolation. The Minister explicitly pointed out the humanitarian situation in North Korea, in particular the lack of food. He stated that the international community should also focus on such issues. In this respect, Minister Rupel referred to the problem of crossing the border between North Korea and China, which is done by Korean citizens expressly because of the food shortage.



The foreign ministers reiterated their deep concern over the threat of Iran’s nuclear proliferation, as Iran does not respect its international obligations arising from the UN Security Council resolutions. Iran was called upon to cooperate with the IAEA and to fulfil its demands without delay, especially by suspending uranium enrichment. The ministers confirmed their commitment to finding a diplomatic solution and urged Iran to enter into international negotiations. Iran was furthermore called upon to play a more responsible and constructive role in the region, especially regarding the Middle East Peace Process and the stabilisation of Iraq and Afghanistan.


The Middle East Peace Process

The G8 foreign ministers supported the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with a view to reaching an agreement. All parties are called to refrain from actions that might harm the process and to fulfil all the obligations they have assumed. The ministers agreed that the situation on the ground must be improved. All sides were urged to contribute to this end. They welcomed the ceasefire in Gaza and assured their commitment to assisting Palestinians, including those in Gaza, and providing help in strengthening Palestinian institutions. The ministers also strive for achieving permanent peace between Israel and other countries of the region, and welcome talks between Israel and Syria being held with the mediation of Turkey. Furthermore, the ministers confirmed their expectation that the meeting in Moscow would contribute to implementing the Annapolis Agreement. The political change in Lebanon was welcomed as well.

Concerning the Middle East Peace Process, Minister Rupel said that during his visit to the Middle East, including Gaza and the West Bank, he established that the main problem is how to organise the Palestinian state. The situation in the Palestinian Territories, which sometimes brings to mind a revolution, does not provide for state-building, since the objective of a revolution is to seize power and not to establish a country. The Slovenian Foreign Minister noted that state-building has to be differentiated from the desire for power. During his recent visit to the West Bank, he visited among others a family of Palestinian refugees which has no means for health care. “Health care is one of the key tasks of a state,” said Minister Rupel. “If there is a state, it can tackle problems. It is therefore true that many developments are encouraging,” said the Minister, noting the Annapolis process, the Quartet’s activities, changes in Lebanon and the beginning of dialogue between Israel and Syria. “However, there are no encouraging signs as regards the Palestinian Territories.” The Slovenian Foreign Minister also pointed out the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and numerous roadblocks. He believes that halting the construction of settlements and removing all roadblocks is a precondition for establishing a Palestinian state.



The G8 foreign ministers expressed concern over the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur and over the violation of human rights in Sudan. They called upon all parties to curb violence and expressed support for the UNAMID mission. As regards Darfur, they urged all sides to respect the UN Security Council resolutions. The ministers called upon the Sudanese government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, and urged Sudan as well as Chad to adhere to the existing peace agreements.



The foreign ministers underlined their grave concern over the situation in the country, condemning the acts of Zimbabwean authorities that prevented the free and fair course of the second round of presidential elections by systematic violence, obstruction and intimidation. The authorities were urged to cooperate with the opposition. The G8 foreign ministers are also deeply disturbed by the humanitarian situation in the country – the suspension of humanitarian aid has affected the most vulnerable parts of the population. The Zimbabwean authorities were thus urged to allow the humanitarian organisations to continue their work. The ministers also stipulated they would not recognise the legality of any government that did not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.


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Date: 27.06.2008