G8 leaders fail to agree on Kyoto
GENOA, Italy -- The Group of Eight summit has ended in disagreement on the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
The leaders of the world's seven richest industrialized nations and Russia released their final communiqué on Sunday in Genoa, Italy, showing the United States stood alone on whether to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. It was negotiated in 1997 by the U.S. and major industrialised nations, but U.S. President George W. Bush has since rejected it.
Although the draft of the communiqué said all countries at the summit are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an Italian official familiar with the proceedings said the communiqué also flatly states that there is no agreement on implementing Kyoto.
"That is because of Bush," the official said.
Bush has labeled the protocol fundamentally flawed, saying its requirements would hurt the U.S. economy and it is unfair because developing nations such as China and India are exempted from the treaty.
The communiqué also commits the leaders to pushing for a new round of trade liberalization talks beginning this fall.
After the summit meeting, Bush met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders discussed Bush's national missile defence plan and his desire to convince his Russian counterpart to put aside the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty.
Putin has said he is reluctant to do so, and other world leaders have expressed fear that doing so could re-ignite an arms race.
Like other economic meetings since 1999 when demonstrators disrupted an international gathering of trade ministers in Seattle, Washington, the three-day summit in Italy was the scene of violent protests.
One protester was shot dead by police during an attack on a police vehicle on Friday. Italian police sources identified the dead man as Carlo Giuliani, 23, a Genoa resident originally from Rome.
The violence appeared to puzzle some leaders. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the G8 members addressed the very issues the protesters were complaining about, such as reducing the debt of African nations and creating a $1 billion world fund to battle infectious diseases, including AIDS.
Blair accused the world's news media of poor coverage, which often showed a wall of riot police working to prevent thousands of demonstrators from entering the "red zone," about a mile outside the 13th-century palace that served as the leaders' meeting place.
More than 200 people were wounded during the two days of demonstrations, including eight police. Dozens of people were arrested.
The demonstrators representing some 700 groups gathered to express their displeasure at world trade, which many say exploits the environment and the people of poor countries for the benefit of the rich - an argument Bush has dismissed saying world trade helps all parties.
The Italian Interior Ministry has said it will release results of the investigation into the killing of Giuliani on Monday.
Pope John Paul II, in a weekly address from his lakeside summer residence Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, said he felt "pain and sadness for the hostility that erupted" at the summit.
"Violence is not the path to reach a fair solution to the current problems," the 81-year-old pontiff said.
Earlier at the meeting, leaders pledged $1.2 billion to a new global fund to fight AIDS and other infectious diseases, especially in Africa.
Leaders said they were determined to draw the poorest countries into the global economy.
"We are determined to make globalisation work for all our citizens and especially the world's poor. Drawing the poorest countries into the global economy is the surest way to address their fundamental aspirations," Reuters quoted the leaders' final statement as saying.
They said they would seek "enhanced co-operation and solidarity with developing countries, based on a mutual responsibility for combating poverty and promoting sustainable development."
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